*Starting* to? Are you kidding? The damage is long done. When Americans hear the word conservative, all they picture anymore are reactionary Christians who spend their lives fretting about other people's bodily functions. Porn, gays, sex, in vitro fertilization, drugs, vaccines, birth control--the government's primary function is to make sure people aren't exposed to any of this icky stuff. Oh, and throw in some anti-science for good measure. That's Conservatism, the new C-word. And people wonder why McCain's kicking ass in the Republican Party? Aiyaiyai.
There’s a lot of truth in what you said. When I tell people I’m a conservative, they immediately start wanting to argue about the specifics Biblical scripture, as if that has anything to do with a small government philosophy.