Let's examine the origin of those terms in American politics. Initially, those who claimed the term "conservative" were those who advocated a government that lived within the ability of the people to provide through taxation which was not oppressive and within the bounds of the Constitution as set down by the very wise men who founded this nation. "Liberals", on the other hand, were assumed to be those who expected the governement to collect horrendous and confiscative taxes from the people and would, in turn, spread the wealth equally over the entire populace, regardless of their contribution to the common good.
At some time during the last quarter century, this concept has been, if not reversed, at least muddled. Now the mantle of conservatism has been adopted by those who hate paying taxes for any reason and feel that their level of wealth and influence should serve as an inoculation against the bother of paying any portion of the national bills. Added to this contingent are the super-religious who want to subvert the liberties that the Constitution gives us to worship in any way we choose and free of governmental influence and who want to establish a theocracy in which all must live and worship according to the tenets of the ruling faith.
This conglomeration of interest groups and money-people calling themselves "conservative" is about like a jackass claiming to be a race horse. A "real" conservative turns green at the word, "reform". Reform means change and change is the one thing that a Conservative dreads more than death itself. The whole point of desiring to conserve is to maintain a situation which one wants to continue, a way of life in which people work hard to care for themselves and their families but are willing to share their resources with others who are less fortunate and to contribute to the costs of the common well-being. However, the cabal which currently runs this nation is changing everything so rapidly under the cover of "reform" that there is no accounting for the true amount of damage that has been done to "the land of the free and the home of the brave".
On the other hand, those of us who oppose these changes are termed "liberals". We who are desperately engaging in the effort to preserve our economic system, our social programs, and even our environment, are beset with sobriquets and insults for our pains. We who struggle against an increasingly unfair taxing system are referred to as "tax and spend liberals" and accused of waging "class warfare". In fact, those who are being denigrated as "radical lib-lefty wackos" are a coalition of independent thinkers from all wings of both parties, Democrats, populists, Libertarians, and, yes, even Real Conservatives who object to the extravagant spending patterns of the Neo-Conservatives who have seized control of our nation and are causing the astronomical national debt.
By the 2008 elections, both parties can kiss their "bases" good-bye as the religious "fundies" realize that they have merely allowed themselves to be used by the Neo-Cons as a power base for those who have no intention of making good on their promises to ensconce those religious beliefs in law. Former Democrats are disillusioned with their party leaders for failure to speak up in opposition to the power-grab of the Executive Branch to the loss of the power of Congress. Real Conservatives are apoplectic at the burgeoning national debt while the working class are becoming more and more disillusioned as the tax breaks for the wealthy are increased and they find themselves bearing the bulk of the burden of paying the bills of an extravagant government.
There are great changes taking place in the hearts of Americans which, if translated into votes, may cause an upheaval in the "business as usual" of politics. The wise politicians will see and understand this and adapt their programs to fit it while those who do not will go down to ignominious defeat. As we tell each other, in person and on websites like these, "Forget the Party line. Vote for the person and for their response to the people", we are encouraging all who want to "conserve" our Constitution and our freedoms. In that effort, those to whom the Neo-Cons refer as Liberals are, in fact, the true Conservatives among us. We want to conserve our national principles which were established as a "government of the people, by the people and for the people" and the rights which were imbedded in our precious Constitution.
We are Eisenhower Republicans, we are Goldwater Democrats, old-line Libertarians and New Age Progressives, but we all want to conserve the American spirit in which which we care for our own, help our neighbors, pay our bills, and live in peace. To paraphrase Gary Coleman's favorite line, "Who you callin' Liberal, fool?