Michael Bitzer

Political Columnist

Dr. Michael Bitzer is an associate professor of politics and history at Catawba College, where he also serves as the 2011-2012 Swink Professor for Excellence in Classroom Teaching and the chair of the department of history & politics.  A native South Carolinian, he holds graduate degrees in both history and political science from Clemson University and The University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. Dr. Bitzer’s studies have focused on Southern politics, campaigns and elections, and a variety of topics in American politics.

With the president’s announcement of gun control proposals, the divisive battle has re-emerged even when the nation tries to comprehend the horrors of Sandy Hook Elementary.   

Just four years ago, with the depths of the economic recession dominating his ascension to the nation’s highest office, President Obama’s address was fairly solemn and somber, reflecting the uncertainties of the time.

Not realizing what the country was facing, he spoke a kind of plain truth that urged his fellow citizens that “the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.”

Now that the official inaugural festivities have concluded, the real work of governing begins for North Carolina’s Republican state government. 

Governor McCrory, Speaker Tillis, and Senate President Pro Tempore Berger are three leaders who seek to bring a distinct change to the state.

Beyond what commentators have observed, North Carolina Republicans could begin a more important transformation of the party for their national aspirations.

When the North Carolina General Assembly gaveled the two chambers into session, the leaders of the House and Senate took to their respective podiums to deliver their outlook on the upcoming biennium session of the legislature.

And it was clear that both leaders had distinct visions for their chamber’s work.

House Speaker Thom Tillis of Mecklenburg delivered an address aimed at both sides of the political aisle.

For the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, ending the 112th Congress should have been a blessing. But the recent fiscal fiasco within his own party seems to indicate his problems will only continue into the new 113th Congress. 

First, Republican leader John Boehner tried his own path to avoid the fiscal cliff fiasco and declare who was in charge of the House majority.

With the announcement of Congressman Tim Scott filling the soon-to-be vacant seat of U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republicans gain a continued stalwart of Tea Party conservatism with a history-making selection.

Since Jim DeMint’s surprise announcement that he was leaving office to head the Heritage Foundation, many observers have noted that one of the most conservative voices is leaving the U.S. Senate.

In fact, Gov. Nikki Haley indicated that she would be appointing “a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share.”

We had a brutal presidential election that most Americans believe ended late on the evening of November 6th.  But did it really?

A little known gathering of individuals across the country will take place this month, on the Monday following the second Wednesday in December. This group, known as the electors, will cast their votes for the president and vice president of the United States.

When introducing students to the idea of “politics,” I often use the idea of a “game”: think of politics with players, rules, teams, fields to play on, equipment, goals, strategies and objectives.

Most politicians describe their involvement in “game-like” ways as well. And sometimes their actions fit into game descriptors, and in that vein, a recent move by the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could be called a serious “air ball.”

The Fiscal Cliff. Fiscal Armageddon. The Thelma and Louise Fiscal Calamity.

It may go by many names, but since the election is over and the status quo has been returned to Washington, the nation’s great debate turns to the fiscal and budgetary matters that are ticking down faster than the Mayan predictions of the end of the world.

In short, we hear of this great economic catastrophe the country faces, more probably accurately named the Fiscal Perfect Storm.

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