The term "liberal" has generally been basterdized.
Too true. Here it's a mostly pejorative label slapped on Repub. Senator Olympia Snowe on leftward til you get to Obama (who is very slightly to the left of what was onve considered the center. Here it gets confusing; from Obama leftward to about Dennis Kucinich and Michael Moore are variously labeled Socialist, Communist, Fascist and Nazi despite the fact that the first two political philosophies are bitterly opposed to each other. That's probably because most of the people doing the namecalling have a tenuous grip on historical knowledge and next to none at all of any other political system in the world or what an actual conservative to liberal spectrum looks like. Beyond that are the moonbats, freaks and nutjobs whose thoughts and opinions and conspiracy theories are rightly ignored by the mainstream press, despite taking the equally nutty from the right side seriously and offering uncritical puBlicity for thei views no matter how insane.
I find it ironic that Republicans such as Teddy Roosevelt, Robert Lafollette and even Dwight Eisenhower would have their views called "socialist" or "communist" and would be drummed out of the party.