Oh, right. The Republicans aren't conservative -- they're reactionary. They want to push back the long (and slow and occasionally faltering) march of progress in our society. Conservatism, in its best sense, is about preserving what's good about what we've got.
So the Democrats, who really don't have a lot of new ideas, have a lot of really great old ideas. They should grab the "conservative" label and run with it. The Democrats are the party of balanced budgets, running a smart defense of our country, the party of small government when it comes to Big Brother -- and the party of equal rights for all citizens, Social Security, unemployment insurance, the 40-hour work week, and (if they have any cojones at all) national health care as an issue of economic competitiveness.
The Republicans are the party of corruption, incompetence, borrow-and-spend fiscal irresponsibility, and the party of the President as King. They're Tories.