Liberals have usually not lived up to their rep. They derive the bulk of their glory by taking credit for the achievements of radicals. The current crop, whose respect for civil liberties is nil and whose attitude toward the suffering is STFU, sets new lows. It is now easier to name a liberal Supreme Court Justice who thinks Roe V. Wade a mistake than to find one who will make any meaningful effort to stop illegal detention, de facto segregation in everything (schools, housing, jobs, the Obama cabinet), or prevent the incarceration, even murder, of political opponents without trial. Liberals claim the entirety of the moral high ground as their turf, but at best, they’re absentee landlords.
~ from Bono: Mascot of Neoliberalism by Dave Marsh ~
Marsh offers a rather caustic definition of liberals, but it's one I happen to agree with!
When I was young -- in the early stages of my political maturation -- I gave liberals far more credit than they actually deserved. It was easy to do so because the liberal political class had brought us Social Security, Medicare, worker safety, desegregation, Head Start, and a host of other progressive legislation. What I didn't realize at the time was that none of these were "liberal" ideas. They were derived from radicals on the left -- socialists, communists and Wobblies -- who advocated for these programs and laws for decades. All the liberal class did was to put a bow on them!
It was like the radical Left had spent generations baking a four-layer cake. When the cake was finished baking, the liberals swooped in. As is their wont, they usually removed one, two or three of the layers -- they watered down the legislation considerably -- and then put a thin glaze of icing on the cake and presented it to the public as if they had been the bakers from beginning to end. Though the cake looked beautiful and tasted delicious, it was a far cry less satisfying than what the original recipe had called for.
But those were the ol' days! Today the political liberal class doesn't even expend that much energy. These days they take the cake out of the oven and pulverize it so that it no longer looks like a cake. Now, we are told that the best we can hope for is a few of the crumbs -- not a drop of icing to be included. The neoliberal class still employs the rhetoric of the 1960s liberals, but there is no substance behind it.
It is for this reason that I have no use for liberals anymore. Where they use to talk the talk and only sort of walk the walk, today they only talk. There is no walk to it. In fact, under Obama, liberalism has become as distasteful as conservatism. They both tend to end up in the same place!