Foreign Policy, Meet the People

Partisanship used to stop at the water’s edge. But times have changed; the U.S. electorate is now deeply divided—and not just on domestic-policy prescriptions. Facing a rift among the masses greater than that spawned by either the war in Korea or

Issue: Sept-Oct 2008

THE OLD adage that partisanship ended at the water's edge, no matter the degree of domestic division, is officially debunked. Especially striking now, this partisanship has penetrated to the level of mass public opinion not only on issues like economic welfare, gay rights and abortion but also when it comes to foreign policy-at unprecedented levels.1 We owe this to the Bush administration's Republican conservatism on domestic issues in tandem with its neoconservativism in foreign policy. Independent voters and the ideologically moderate center of the electorate may remain decisive, but this has not prevented conflict between the extremes from dominating political debate and challenging government's ability to address pressing national problems.

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