As you know, I’ve challenged the facile use of the word "conservative." My point is, you can’t just say "I’m conservative" or "he’s not conservative" and have it mean anything. You have to explain, conservative how — in what way? Because alone, the word has had the meaning leached out of it.
Similarly, the word "liberal." This is an excellent video clip of Barack Obama fielding questions about having been judged the Senate’s "most liberal" member. He does a pretty fair job of deconstructing the term, and then goes on to the more important point: "This is the old politics. This is the stuff that we’re trying to get rid of."
He is speaking to… what? … the real split in American politics, between the old-style partisan warriors that we swing voters long ago got sick of, and those who would lead a different kind of pragmatic, results-oriented discussion of issues.