I grew up in a middle-class Jewish (but not religious) family where most everyone was - surprise - a Democrat, and voted Democratic. As I was growing up and into my teens and early 20's nobody really talked much about politics.
It was basically, XYZ president or politician promised me this, and and I like him/her and I'm going to vote for him. Little if any critical independent thinking was devoted to "how" Mr. XYZ intended to PAY for whatever he promised.
In my 20's I decided I needed to broaden my horizons, and traveled to Israel to live on a Kibbutz for about a year. I had a great time. I also worked hard (you HAVE to work on a kibbutz, period!). But I also learned that the kibbutz mentality is very socialistic, and not quite as capitalistic as many may think. I also learned a lot about the Jewish culture, morality, and history and how Christians and Jews are "joined at the hip". After all, Jesus Christ was born - and lived - a Jew. So were most of his Apostles. I also traveled extensively through Europe.
Upon my return to the US, working various jobs, completing college and eventually earning a Ph.D. in economics, I did a lot more studying. I read Mortimer Adler, I read Milton Friedman, I watched Wm. F. Buckley. And eventually I found the basic truism that drives the conservative philosophy: You become a conservative when you've earned something to CONSERVE. LIberals simply do not understand this basic fact - yet it remains the very cornerstone on which our great country was founded.
Since then, I've been involved in local GOP organizations such as the Orlando Young Republicans and have supported Tea Party candidates as well. The Tea Party is anathema to liberals! Why? Because they believe in smaller government and less taxes! That's "evil"?
So, I'm a proud Conservative with libertarian leanings. I'm also a political realist, and I just voted for Mitt Romney here in Florida. By realist, I mean that Romney's not perfect. But when you compare him to president Obama and the complete shambles he's made as Commander in Chief, I'll hold my nose and take Romney any day!