Conservative reform is particularly necessary today. Revolutions in telecommunications and transportation continue to transform business, the family and the environment. The threat of transnational terrorists employing biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear and cyber weapons demands greater resourcefulness and agility at all levels of government, as well as greater cooperation among federal, state and municipal officials. And the vast expansion of the federal government undertaken by President Barack Obama and the Democrats has focused the electorate on government's cost and role in a way not seen since Ronald Reagan ran for president.RTWT at the link.
Unfortunately, over the past decade, conservatism in America has squandered the reputation for reform that it earned in the 1980s and 1990s. President Reagan led the way with his signature tax cuts, which launched two decades of stunning economic growth. Gov. John Engler in Michigan (1991–2003) and Gov. Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin (1987-2001) gained national prominence for the benefits they brought to their states by cutting taxes, promoting school choice and renovating welfare. The 1994 Republican congressional campaign's Contract with America, which drew on President Reagan's 1985 State of the Union Address to propose concrete legislation to make the federal government more transparent and accountable, promised a new era of conservative reform.
The promise was not fulfilled. Congressional Republicans grew complacent and in some cases corrupt. While he ran as a reformer in 2000—remember "compassionate conservatism"—President George W. Bush was soon consumed with two wars and never regained his footing after Hurricane Katrina.
And see Berkowitz's piece at Policy Review, "Constitutional Conservatism."
On a purely intellectual level, I'm most partial to Berkowitz's conservative program. But I need to qualify that in light of my actual activism on the ground: Berkowitz is a bit too moderate for the tea partiers, and I don't know if he's been on the ground in places like L.A. and Phoenix to experience the extremism of the hard left "progressives" looking to destroy everything. After you been around that shit for a while, it's easy to wind up even more to the right as a reaction to the left's revolutionary program. I wonder what Edmund Burke would say today?