Even staunch conservatives like Barry Goldwater had more integrity than that. And George W. Bush popularized the term “compassionate conservatism,” even if his presidency did not put it into practice as often as he might have wanted to.
The question today is where the Republican Party stands on questions like health care, Social Security and, in general, the social safety net that is so special to the American way.
No one is above help, especially today. Enough of us have seen misfortune among our family members and friends to know that, sometimes, government can help. It is not, as the right claims, always a problem.
Admitting this is far from the kind of gullible sentimentality some stand ready to exploit.
That is why so many people fear Romney and Paul Ryan getting to the White House. They feel that Medicare will be gutted and that the Republican administration will submit to the demands of a gang of wealthy people no more compassionate than a sack of rocks.