"Liberal ... 1a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox or authoritarian attitudes, views or dogmas; free from bigotry. b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded."
"Conservative ... 1. Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change."
To paraphrase the two examples, liberals are open to change and conservatives are not. Thomas Edison would have been classified as a liberal, as would Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright Brothers - open to new ideas. Conservatives (who are opposed to change) would have never wanted indoor plumbing and horseless carriages.
There are two kinds of liberals in America. "Liberal thinkers" and "liberal politicians". The liberal thinkers are understandable. They are the dreamers of the world. They give us newer and better options every day. The liberal politicians are the people who are not afraid to enact into law the newest and best of these ideas. Stem cell research is one of these liberal ideas that is so controversial right now. Should the liberal politicians enact it against the conservatives' objections? I hope so!
Public opinion (through it's ignorance) has made the word "liberal" into something that is equivalent to being "bad." This is false and can only fly when the true meaning of the word is not understood.
When you know what liberal means, then I'm sure that there will be more liberals in the U.S. than there are conservatives. I want the word liberal to mean just what it's supposed to mean - what the dictionary defines it as being!
I am a liberal and I'm proud of it!