Conservatives divide the world in terms of good and evil while liberals do it in terms of the rich and poor.
When you are guaranteed you will win, you can take very inflammatory, very extreme positions. If you have to run in a district where where you might lose, you will move to the center. That is the beauty of the two party system in America as opposed to the parliamentary system in Europe.
When I grew up, the conservatives were the isolationists and the liberals were the idealists. Now it's reversed.
The '60s redefined narcissism as idealism.