I've said this before, and I truly believe it:
Fiscal conservatism died when Gingrich got politically destroyed by Clinton, Time Magazine et al over the government shutdown back in the mid-90s -- the "Gingrich Who Stole Christmas."
He held the line for smaller spending increases -- not spending cuts mind you, but slowing the rate of growth on government spending. Clinton vetoed three budgets that would have funded the government, and somehow the press blamed Gingrich for what it claimed would be starving government workers who wouldn't get paid, and children who wouldn't get toys, because Clinton bit his lip (I think he did it hard, too, in order to build up a tear in his eye -- maybe he turned around quickly and plucked a nose-hair, I'm not sure) and said that mean ol' Newt made him veto the budgets.
The lesson the Republicans learned from that was two-fold: 1) If they held the line on spending, the press would portray them as "mean," and 2) If they looked mean, they were toast, politically. Thus, the new-outlook Republicans cling to "compassionate conservatism," which essentially means spending lots of money on things soccer moms like, and avoiding cutting any money from any program that would be "mean." Given the general outlook of the press, that basically implies no spending cuts.