I have long considered myself to be a political conservative, even though some of my positions (specifically, my conscientious objection to war and the military "service" which makes wars possible) would cause some people to question that label when applied to me.
I couldn't care less about the issues which get the "tea party" folks into a lather. I don't know where Barack Obama was born, and frankly, I think that it's a trivial issue used to distract people from the things that really matter. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that presidents need to uphold the law, and if the Constitution specifies that presidents should be native born, then people need to either follow that law or do what is necessary to legitimately amend the Constitution so that it enables qualified candidates to run for the highest office in the land, regardless of where they happened to be living when they first came into this world. A person's place of birth has nothing to do with his or her personal character, in my opinion.
What is a matter of personal character, however, is the ability or lack thereof to understand and defend basic principles of justice. Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, apparently could not grasp the idea that he was fighting on the side of the Prince of Darkness, not on the side of the angels. Abraham Lincoln was not perfect, but he was indisputably fighting for justice.
But that is not the issue of our day. The matter has long been settled, with regard to ending slavery, not just in the sense that the issue has been settled legally, but in the sense that it has become part of the values which make America one of the greatest nations on earth, regardless of the current state of the American economy.
The issue which has most shaped my political alliances is the one which divided Ronald Reagan from his political adversaries: the issue of abortion. Reagan spoke what he believed to be the truth about that issue, and I strongly agree with his position on that subject. It is utterly hypocritical to claim that all people are created equal and then to attempt to rationalize the purposeful destruction of the most innocent people one can possibly imagine on the basis of lame arguments relying upon euphemisms like "choice," as if the nature of the choice being made is utterly irrelevant. No one has a right to choose to destroy an innocent human being, any more than he or she has a right to choose to own and abuse slaves or to commit genocide.
Reagan may very well have been the last successful Republican politician to pose a serious threat to the Democratic liberal/progressive juggernaut. Neither George Bush Senior or his son had any demonstrable passion or commitment to the pro-life cause. They were the best we pro-lifers had, at the time of their elections, but my enthusiasm for them was tepid at best.
There was a Republican candidate I'd have greatly preferred to both Bushmen, even more than Mike Huckabee: Alan Keyes. Keyes was articulate (not in the sense that causes some black folks to think of that term as a term of condescension, but in the sense that any great leader needs to be able to articulately explain and defend what he believes in). Whether or not he's a viable political candidate, the fact is that he would make a great president. At the Renew America web site, he continues to fight the good fight in the war against ideological stupidity. See his latest article at http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/keyes/120731.