In my conversations with acquaint cussing and discussing politics it occurred to me that most people will call themselves a Democrat because they believe in Democracy. Or think themselves a liberal because they think that means they would oppose big government. And you would be wrong and wrong.
I come across this and gives a perfect breakdown as to what is who.
Political Ideology Definitions
Questions often arise as to what is a liberal? What is a conservative? What does it mean to support the Left? Or the Right? What does a certain political party stand for? Although positions change over time and it's never good to make generalizations about what a certain group thinks, this section tries to clarifies some of the basic ideological definitions. Politicians have a wide range of opinions; thus, any particular leader doesn't necessary fit neatly into these categories.
The original definition of a liberal was someone who advocated change, new philosophies, and new ideas. A conservative was someone who avoided change, instead preferring to stick to the tried and true. In modern times, these definitions have expanded to include a wide set of political beliefs (which are defined below). To be Leftist or agree with the Left political point of view is synonymous with being liberal. To be Rightist or agree with the Right political point of view is synonymous with being conservative. The Left and Right terms were created because political ideology is viewed on a continuum; most people generally hold views somewhere in the middle. For example, if you agree more with liberal ideas, you're considered more Leftist in your thinking. The graphic below illustrates the continuum:
Liberal (Left) <------------------- Moderate (Middle) -------------------> Conservative (Right)
Generally speaking, the Democratic party follows a more liberal platform; the Republican party follows a more conservative platform. The following table summarizes the current ideology of the parties (the links section gives more detail on what each party stands for).
I tried to post the chart but it will not format in a legible way.
So here is the link.
Leading Democratic 2012 Presidential Candidates
Leading Republican 2012 Presidential Candidates
Hopes this helps with any ID crisis.
Got till November to get it right.