While I don’t think it’s fair or even rational, I expect most of those reading this are familiar with critiques of the contemporary popular Left. In the interest of balance I’ll give the critique of the contemporary popular Right.
1.) The Women and Children First Axiom. Since the Sixties Left and Right have fallen into Mommy and Daddy archetypes. This is fine and perhaps even salutary so far as one makes them co-equal originators of policy, but the whole point of the party system is to force the choice of one option to the exclusion of the other. If that’s the situation you force on persons, everyone picks Mom. Even Dad (cf. the sinking ship/ lifeboat problem).
2.) The Vacuity of “Big Government”. Big is meaningless apart from a judgment of what is appropriate or, in this case, just. Being against big government is therefore being against a government that is larger than is appropriate or just which is, of course, something everyone from Mussolini to Ayn Rand is against. The claim has no more content than that the government ought not to do what it ought not to do. Attempts on the popular Right to actually delineate, even vaguely, the appropriate reach of government fall somewhere on a continuum from politically impossible to the ridiculous. One can make a very good case for limited government by arguing for strict constitutionalism, but the popular conservative movement has never succeeded in doing this. Even the high-water mark of the Reagan presidency failed (in the formidable judgment of its definitive biographer) to be a constitutional movement.
3.) The Deregulation Paradox. We deregulate out of a desire to stimulate competition, produce new entrepreneurial initiative, facilitate creative destruction, and do all that other Adam Smith stuff. What we find is that it ends up creating monopolies from Standard Oil to Goldman Sachs who are capable of writing laws for their own advantage so as to crush competition, make all new initiative pointless, ensure that creative destruction will never occur, and open the door to all that Karl Marx stuff.
4.) The Questionable Re-Framing of Moral Problems. Many are conservative because it is the only way for them to be pro-life, pro-monogamy, etc. Leaving aside the vast swaths of agreement between Left and Right on most issues of chastity and sexual justice, the Right will still only allow for moral questions to be framed in a Right-appropropriate way, and it is not clear that this is the most appropriate way to frame them. To take the most significant issue, the Right treats abortion as a individual-rights problem, as though the baby is most analogous to Dred Scott. But there is something absurd in looking at an unborn child in this way, as though the point of ending abortion was to leave the child to its own wits as a free and independent citizen. His absolute dependence is obvious and unavoidable, the only question is whether there is some bond of justice and charity that demands that the bond be maintained. The Right’s tendency to be suspicious of personal dependence occludes something essential in the morality of abortion.