The Cato Institute is a caonservative think tank-policy institute that I would describe as libertarian-conservative but my sister who is in DC would call 'crazy-out-there-conservative-small-government-know-it-alls'. They have some interesting information available on their website, and I read a few articles. They are short and have a theme of small government and limited government spending. More importantly, they make you think. I enjoyed this one. It is amazing to think of what government spending on the elderly in 2040 will be. We need changes now when there is some time left on the clock, rather than during the final countdown. Unfortunately, that is not the American way.
This article shows how Bush and the GOP Congress cannot limit their feeding at the government teet. I understand the need to shift some spending your home state's way so that you can show you brought home some bacon, but the transportation bill is an example of how the GOP Congress and Bush have turned their back on fiscal conservatism.
Some of the Bush policies and strategy I have not understood at all (defense/foreign policy vaguely). The education bill and hiked spending (60%+ under Bush) possibly were attempts to prove moderate status, but he so quickly drove right and moved to reward the base that it was a waste. The same could be said for the Medicare reform with the prescription drug aid. That will be excellent for the elderly but no democrat/liberal/progressive will give Bush credit for helping the elderly and being a 'big government' president. He gained no additional voters. This was completely useless as Bush won the election because of the war in Iraq, the GWOT, and value voters.
A study as to how the GOP became big spenders can be found here. I think a few quick explanations on this can be that when you control all branches you will help your friends out and that the old saying 'Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' (Lord Acton) applies to our Congress.