Many Top Democrats, today, are Conservatives.
And, what does that make top Republicans?
they are not what we think of as conservatives. . . . , but the standard term, when being polite to them, is "movement conservative." Whatever you call them, they hate liberalism with a passion. And by "liberalism" I mean liberalism as in the Englightenment and the American Founders such as the Jefferson of the Declaration and the letter to the Danbury Baptists. These are people, who are still fighting the battles lost by the Federalists in the earliest days of the United States. These are very, very strange people and there is no common ground to be reached between liberals and them. They can only be defeated and their ideas relegated to the margins of modern American political discourse, where they belong. Fortunately, as powerful as they are, there are not too many of them. Unfortunately, they are extremely good at disguising their extremism; many decent Americans have been bamboozled.
Among the most important ways to defeat movement conservatives is to refuse to take their bullshit seriously, even for a moment. In fact, when they are given undeserved influence and respect, as they were in the months before Bush/Iraq, innocent people die.
On the other hand, dialogue with conservatives, genuine conservatives, is not only possible, but something liberals are having right now, every day. A prime example is the intense argument many in the blogosphere are having with the current president of the United States. I'm not kidding or being a smarty-pants: Whatever his personal beliefs, Obama governs as a centrist and even, in some areas, like a conservative. Therefore, it is no surprise at all that it has been very, very difficult to introduce genuinely liberal ideas into this administration, . . . .
That said, the Obama administration has not heaped the kind of eliminationist scorn on us that [Robert Stacy] McCain and his fellow brown shirt wannabes have. It is with Obama and other Democrats that you will find the discussions you want to have. You may not like what they're doing, but they are not in the grip of a genuinely creepy ideology.
Indeed, most top Democrats adhere to what used to be called "conservatism," including the Clintons, Reid, and of course the even-more-conservative blue dogs. It has been noted, often with amazement, that today's Democrats are to the right of Nixon on many issues; needless to say, that is pretty damn far right.
A governing coalition can be had, between conservatives and progressives, within the Democratic Party and its adherents controlling the Executive and Congress. But, beyond the bounds of that coalition, there be dragons . . .