Eric Alterman makes the case for embracing it. It's worth emphasizing that there's something mighty impractical about the whole "no, we're liberals" kick. Whatever the methodological problems with the National Journal "omg he's the most liberal senator evar!" surveys it is, in fact, the case that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both in the left-most third of the Senator distribution and any reasonable approach will show that. Meanwhile, "liberal" just is the term people use for that side of the political spectrum in the modern United States.

Chris Bowers and the Center for American Progress don't get to unilaterally alter the country's language. If liberals don't use the word "liberal," in other words, the only people using it will be using it as an insult and people using it as a neutral descriptor. And the neutral descriptor people are going to keep using it no matter what liberals do.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.