Your problem is being caught up in a sort of a time warp. The people you remember calling themselves liberals and progressives back in the day were good people, but they'd all be Republicans in today's world. Water never stops flowing over the dam. The people calling themselves liberals and progressives today are a toxic mix of Gaea worshipers, culture warriors, unreformed communists, terrorists (Ayers...), pure gangsters (Sharpton, Blagoyevich...), power mad people and misanthropes who actually want to return the planet's human population to medieval levels. FDR or JFK or Truman would round all of those fools up and put them in cages and have the bars welded shut.
Bottom line: The political environment in America has been completely and utterly DOMINATED by conservatives for almost half a century now. Conservative have called the shots almost exclusively.
We are where we are right now...and a HUGE factor in why we are here has been the dominance of CONSERVATIVE POLICY.
There is no getting past that, Gunga.
Take all the shots at the liberals you want...the fact is, though, they have been almost an afterthought during the last half century.
The driving and guiding force has been American conservatism. Any problems you see with America right now falls at the feet of American conservatism.