Newt Gingrich knows the lingo. He makes conservative audiences roar with approval when he compares the efficiency of FedEx and MasterCard to the post office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He never loses an opportunity to attack the press for its moral preening. Conservatives adore this table turning. Nothing makes them angrier than to be derided as heartless by people who define virtue by their willingness to give away other people's money.
Rick Perry quickly lost his own conservative luster when he used the word "heartless" about his Republican rivals.
Want to see how conservatives behave? Rent and watch "The Blind Side." The family that adopted Michael Oher, a homeless black teenager, was conservative and Christian. Think that's an anomaly? Glance at the families of Republican office seekers. John and Cindy McCain adopted a sickly child from Pakistan. Jon and Mary Kaye Huntsman have two adopted daughters, one from China and one from India. Michele and Marcus Bachmann have five biological children and fostered 23 teenagers -- many with eating disorders and other challenges. Wander into any church or synagogue on the weekend and you will find more of a "rainbow coalition" than at a New York Times editorial conference.
Self-described conservatives, as Arthur C. Brooks demonstrated so cogently in his book "Who Really Cares," donate more to charity than do self-identified liberals. Perhaps that's because conservatives are wealthier? No. Liberals on average earn 6 percent more than conservatives. Yet conservatives donate about 30 percent more. Conservatives also volunteer more of their time -- and their blood. Brooks writes: "If liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply of the United States would jump about 45 percent." Of the 25 states that had higher than average charitable giving, 24 went for George W. Bush over John Kerry in 2004.
Liberals define virtue not by one's personal behavior but by one's political positions. Thus, Bill Clinton could, without risking the ire of liberals, behave like a caveman with women who actually came into his orbit because he supported unrestricted abortion for those who didn't. Similarly, Tim Geithner gets a pass on failing to pay his own taxes because he favors raising taxes on "the rich."