After discussing things with Chacham, it occurs to me that we have not two, but three political axis in this country.
Right Wing vs. Left Wing: This is the major arc, one that I have previously described as "Righteousness over Liberty vs. Liberty over Righteousness."
Liberal vs. Conservative: This is a minor arc, but one that gets misused very often. The proper use, by the actual meaning of the words, would be "against the status quo vs. for the status quo."
Optimist vs. Pessimist: This is the least spoken and most important arc, and there are likely better terms for it. Some politicans believe that people are fundamentally good, and that the rest of us just need to get out of the way and keep wickedness at bay. Others hold that people are fundamentally evil, and need to be taught and restrained lest they bring ruin to us all.
Republican advocates (by which I mean, pundits) have sucessfully maligned the liberal/conservative arc as new names for left wing vs. right wing. This deprives us of needed vocabulary, and leaves the words "Judge Roberts is a Conservative Right-winger" as meaning the opposite of what they really mean--someone who values righteousness over liberty but will not change the status quo.
And this isn't something that only damages the left, either. George W. Bush should have ran as a "Liberal Republican", willing to change the way the system works for the better. He did, in fact, run on that idea both times, he just didn't admit it.