Many of the younger conservative policy mavens and intellectuals have also become steadily less enamored of free markets and limited government. . . "Crunchy conservatism," the brainchild of Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher, is also a cri de coeur against mainstream conservatism. And both of these derive from the kind of thinking that led George W. Bush to insist in 2000 that he was a "different kind of Republican" because he was a "compassionate conservative" -- a political program that apparently measures compassion by how much money the government spends on education, marriage counseling and the like.
I not only read, but reviewed Crunchy Cons for Chronicles. It's been a while, but I can't remember anything about it that "derive[s] from the kind of thinking that led George W. Bush to insist in 2000 that he was a 'different kind of Republican.'" Fortunately, Jeremy Beer has published a perceptive review of Dreher's book in the University Bookman. He neglected to note any similarity to compassionate conservatism and instead writes that, "Dreher . . . seems to have discovered the half-forgotten canon of traditionalist thought (especially the work of Russell Kirk) and its contemporary expositors (especially Lukacs, Wendell Berry, and Alasdair MacIntyre)."
Beer also wisely puts the much abused term "free markets" in quotes. If one grants that conservative intellectuals actually favor such a policy, conservative politicians and probably 99% of Ameicans don't. I'm not even sure what it means anymore.