How does sane conservatism differ from liberalism?

Every now and then there are people on the left and right who lament the craziness of the modern GOP and call for a return of “sane conservatism” (or some term that approximates that.)

But each time they do, their definition of sane conservatism (supporting contraception, gun control, LGBT, healthcare reform, higher taxes, etc) sounds a lot like…liberalism.

Ditching conspiracy theories and Trumpism would be a sure one. But in what ways should a conservative (or conservative party) be “sane” while still not being liberal?

Sane conservatives are against abortion, but not repealing Roe. Contraception is OK, but neither can be paid for by taxes.

They are Ok with modest gun control, within the limits of Heller. But not repealing the 2nd.

Healthcare usually means a bigger, better ACA- but not something crazy like Sanders plan.

They want to limit immigration, and slow illegal immigration.

Lower niggling taxes like auto registration.

LGBT is fine, but not tax money for sex changes.

Law & Order is big, “defund the police” is right out. Police reform could be OK.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act is good. Affirmative action is bad.

The 1964 Civil Rights Acts was passed by a majority of Republicans, and the EPA was put in place by the Nixon administration. George HW Bush raised taxes because the deficit was getting too high.

I would say that sane conservatism means fiscal responsibility (matching inflows to outflows), not just always cutting taxes. It means reasonable regulation to protect the environment. It means reasonable gun restrictions (California tightened up its gun laws under Reagan).

It means more limited welfare and unemployment benefits than liberals would like. It means slower progress on LGBT+ rights than liberals would like, but not necessarily no progress.

On trade, it would be more free trade and fewer protections for workers than liberals would like, definitely anti-union relative to liberals.

From my liberal standpoint, ditching the conspiracy theories and Trumpism would be enough to qualify as a return to sane conservatism. The party of GWB, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, was a sane, conservative party. They held positions I disagree with, using fundamentally different moral axioms, but they didn’t deny reality.

I think an example could be found in climate change. A sane conservative could look at the data and say that yes humans were causing climate change but it wasn’t the role of government to do anything about it.

The wholesale denying of reality is the core problem since there is no substance to the debate. If the Republicans were sane there could be a useful public debate about the proper role of government not is science a lie.

The media uses terms liberal and conservative incorrectly. Those are idealogies. They are not indicative of either party. When capitalized, Liberal means laws applied across the land which is Democratic and Conservative means up to the States which is Republicanism. Sane Conservatives as in Republican would be pro-choice (they passed Roe v Wade), not obsessed with what consenting adults do or their genitalia, be fiscally responsible - I’d settle ditching conspiratory theories, however Democratic people who are conservative may share those same beliefs.

“Sane conservatism” would include the idea that a smaller scope of government is preferred, but acknowledge and support that certain activities and functions, like the Postal Service, police and fire protection, the military, etc. are things that should be of benefit for all, and should not be privatized, or see large portions of their functions move to for-profit companies.

Too many conservatives now seem to believe that government is always wasteful and inefficient, and the private sector is always a better option.

Sane Conservatism-Not believing that something is true just because you want it to be, or even just because you said it.

In many ways it doesn’t. Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and George HW Bush would have trouble getting elected in todays republican party due to being too liberal.

These people weren’t liberal, its just that the GOP has gone very far to the right into blatant white supremacist fascism and intentionally dishonest propaganda.

I recently phrased that as, "Asking the question, “How are we going to pay for that?’” as an honest request for suggestions, not a rhetorical device to dismiss any new program you don’t like.

Raise taxes, incur debt, cut other spending? All possible answers, some better than others, but have a plan, and be willing to justify that plan.

These two issues bring up another good point. There was a time when conservatives bragged about being “the party that could do math”. Well, get back to that. Do the math on climate change, and universal healthcare, and realize that the current “conservative” takes on both of those are no longer cost effective. A fiscally responsible conservative government would be looking to save everyone money by bringing in universal healthcare, while making everyone money by investing in new technologies to move us away from fossil fuels and limit the effects of climate change.

Of course, at that point, the OP is kind of correct: It sounds an awful lot like just electing Joe Biden.

It’s been observed before that even the most “liberal” US politicians are conservatives by the standards of most other democratic countries.

It’s not hard. Point to a couple of sane conservatives. I certainly disagree with Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney on policy issues but I have no doubt of their basic sanity and would be happy to debate them. I would prefer not being in the same universe as Marjorie Taylor Greene.

One of those things is not like the rest.

Nixon in 1960 was solidly conservative. But he got bizarrely twisted during his time in the wilderness. In many respects, he was the most liberal president we’ve ever had. For proof, I point to the price controls he imposed. That’s pure socialism.

Which one? They all would be seen by today’s GOP as being too liberal. I would argue that G. Dubya Bush would be too. Maybe you think Nixon was a Socialist? So what. He’d still be too liberal, ergo, he is like the rest.

Not to mention his proposal for a kind of national health insurance. Or his establishment of the EPA.

On the flip side of that coin, Bill Clinton would have fit in just fine with the “Rockefeller Republicans” of the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

The answer is perhaps explained by the exchange:

“I got censored by Big Tech for my conservative views.”
“Geez! They banned you for supporting low taxes?”
“No, the other stuff.”
“For wanting to cut the welfare state?”
“No, the other stuff.”
“For suggesting that there are too many government regulations on business?”
“No, the other stuff…”

Well, sure. What we have now isn’t “liberalism,” it’s “neoliberalism.” It’s the dominant model for the Democratic Party.

Given the age of party leaders, I don’t know how much longer it will be the model, but it is right now.

We have Bill Clinton to thank (or blame, depending on your point of view) for this.

Seconded. I disagreed with them vehemently; but that’s not the same as thinking they weren’t sane.

They didn’t deny reality, and they didn’t favor trying to win elections by blatant cheating.

Sane conservatives may want smaller government, lower taxes, and slower rates of change; but can discuss those issues based on factual information.

I’m not sure I follow you on that first dividing line; can’t a sane position on abortion be that one thinks Roe was an incorrect Supreme Court decision and should be overturned, at which point the question would become a legislative matter, accompanied by a go-to line about Rolling Back Judicial Activism from Romney or Bush or Whomever?