This is an excerpt from The West Wing episode where Jimmy Smits, the Democratic presidential nominee, debates Alan Alda, the Republican nominee. It's spectacular.
"Some of our older airlines are having trouble meeting their huge pension obligations at the very same time when they're facing intense competition from low-cost airlines that are so new they don't yet have pensions to pay. Now, an unthinking liberal will describe the airline bankruptcies as the evil capitalists screwing the workers."
"I didn't say that Senator and I don't think you should put words in my mouth."
"No. Of course you didn't say it. You're not an unthinking liberal. Are you?"
"I know you like to use that word 'liberal' as if it were a crime."
"No. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have used that word. I know Democrats think liberal is a bad word. So bad you had to change it. What do you call yourselves now, progressives? Is that it?"
"It's true. Republicans have tried to turn liberal into a bad word. Well, liberals ended slavery in this country."
"A Republican President ended slavery."
"Yes, a liberal Republican, Senator. What happened to them? They got run out of your party. What did liberals do that was so offensive to the liberal party? I'll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'Liberal,' as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won't work, Senator. Because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor."