Liberals are self-doubting, try to compromise, try to be reasonable, while conservatives seem to just dig in farther, toe the line, and move further to the right. And then liberals compromise again. So it has been since the 70's. I was telling Jeff the other day, I think modern democrats are obviously much more conservative than Nixon (who actually enacted many of our modern social programs). Even with democrats in power in government it doesn't seem to matter, we've continued to move to the right during this term. You may say "no no we're to the left of where we were under GWB". Not so - the pendulum is currently in its left-most part of its swing, but the center of the pendulum swing is still shifting right.
Obama & the democrats so far have been extremely right wing in everything they've actually done. Some of the speeches sound somewhat liberal, but those don't turn into actual actions, and instead we get sly under the radar extremely conservative actions. The worst things that Obama has done have been the furthering of opacity of the executive office, continued extradition of suspects to countries that torture, continued domestic surveillance, and complete subsidy of the finance industry without any increase of regulation.
What we needed after GWB was a really big correction back towards civil liberty, transparency, higher taxes on the rich & corporations, real health care reform, real environmental rules, an end to corrupt subsidies for oil companies, natural gas, ethanol, agribusiness, huge cuts of the pentagon budget, a real new policy on prisoners, and we've gotten none of that. But the real evil is that despite all that, most liberals are still self-satisfied because we "did a good thing" electing a black man. Bully for fucking us.