The Conservative Movement arose during the 1950's in opposition to the so-called "Liberal Consensus." In this timeline, the establishment generally accepts balanced budgets, limited spending, low taxation, and free markets, as opposed to Keynesian intervention. Early conservative leaders therefore balanced their platform on the twin pillars of traditional values and an activist foreign policy, with little emphasis on economic libertarianism.
Truman and Eisenhower supported a policy of containment, with certain voices, such as Senator McCarthy, pushing for an even stronger approach. The Korean War is a mixed success for the United States. Many Americans believed General MacArthur was correct in pushing for greater American engagement. in 1955, William F. Buckley founded the National Review. (Thus far this is identical to OTL.)
However, the National Review is more oriented towards combating moral decay and the Soviet Union than promoting free market economics. Ludwig von Mises, Fredrick Hayek, and Ayn Rand are not given a forum for their views in Buckley's publication; they are not viewed as part of the conservative movement.
Barry Goldwater gains less prominence through opposition to President Eisenhower's domestic policies, as, for example, the President never caves to the, "siren-song of socialism." However, he compensates for this through furious attacks on Kennedy and Proxmire over the spread of communism.
Conservatives make an issue over President Proxmire's refusal to send American troops to Vietnam, arguing that the lack of action was a weak and foolish decision, and that there existed a pattern of Democratic politicians allowing countries to fall to communism.
In the 1964 election, Goldwater is defeated by President Proxmire, decisively, but not the landslide of OTL. Some conservatives insinuate that their next candidate needs to resonate more with social conservatives.
As in OTL, Ronald Reagan is elected Governor of California in 1966 on a socially conservative platform.
Jack Kemp is viewed as a moderate Republican, more in the tradition of Democrat Robert Kennedy than Republican Ronald Reagan, and influenced more by Rand and Hayek than Russell Kirk and Buckley.