Is political conservatism a simple list of ideals? If so, are conservatives simply individuals who hold a specific percentage of those beliefs?
I don't believe so. While there are some core conservative tenets such as limited government and individual freedom, conservatism in my mind, is in large part a resistance to change. It is not adverse to change, just resistant. It understands that just because things are not going well at the moment, changing direction based soley on information available to us at an exact instant in time is blind.
Conservatism looks to the past and realizes that we have thousands of years of recorded human history and that there are lessons to be learned. If we take the time to look, we often find that most ideas we come up with are not new. Conservatives understand the importance of determining the long term affects of the decisions before proceding.
Rather than spending this past election trying to outchange the Candidate of Change, the GOP would have been better served to argue for reflection and deliberation. Moving forward, conservatives need to be vocal in pointing out specific examples of the long term affects when specific policy proposals are on the table.