CMU - you seem like a bright guy. However, you have some aggression issues.
Not every conservative is a born-again, moral majority robot blindly following GW Bush. They are a diverse, free-thinking group of people who share some sommon traits.
In my experience, these conservatives:
1) Are self-supporting
2) Take pride in accomplishing something
3) Realize that "something for nothing" doesn't work for welfare or foreign policy.
4) Have deep feeling of patriotism for the U.S.
5) Think that less government is better (duh)
6) Beleive that, other than "the common defense" that the private sector can (and will) do virtually everything better than the federal government (as well as most state and much of local government).
I consider myslef a staunch concervative. That said, I violate the stereotype in many ways.
1) I'm not much for church, and don't want it anywhere near government. I however, do realize that the Constitution says the government shall not establish of promote a state religion - which says nothing about "under God" or the 10 Commandments being unallowable in government activity.
2) I'm for "tit for tat" trade restrictions - if your market's not open to us, ours ain't open to you. That goes for Japan, europe, China, or whoever.
3) Abortion - if you don't want one, don't have one - but it is legal and bombing clinics should buy you life in prison, if not a needle in the arm. That said, I VIGOROUSLY oppose lawmaking via the court system - a liberal trick to enact otherwise impossible to enact legislation.
Remember, both liberals and conservatives rarely fit the stereotype.
And remember the words of a wise man:
"A man who is not liberal when he is young has no heart. A man who does not grow more conservative as he ages and learns has no brain"
This is the Pub. Leave common sense at the door.