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.

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The Party Line
5:09 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Debt Ceiling Vote Reveals GOP's Challenges In Congress

­With the debt ceiling vote now behind the House GOP caucus, the consensus seems to be that the Speaker of the House surrendered yet another confrontation to the president. 

In doing so, the Speaker had to use the votes of all but two Democrats, along with 28 of his own party’s members, to secure the needed votes to pass a clean debt ceiling measure. 

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The Party Line
5:35 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

GOP Suffers From Mixed Messages

Michael Bitzer

Following the 2012 presidential defeat, Republicans sought to rebrand their image.  In a 100-page report, entitled the “Growth and Opportunity Project,” a series of recommendations were made, most notably about the messaging that the party sends to the electorate. 

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The Party Line
9:18 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Aiken Will Get Media Attention, But Victory Is Unlikely

Michael Bitzer

Clay Aiken’s announcement to run in the Democratic primary and to ultimately face U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers in the state’s second congressional district certainly has gained the media’s attention.

However, that's likely all he will gain.

Yes, with his “American Idol” fame, Aiken certainly has name recognition.

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The Party Line
5:06 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

President Didn't Show Willingness To Bargain In SOTU Speech

Michael Bitzer

The power of the presidency has been described as “the power to persuade,” but how presidents use that persuasion, not just within the government but also with the nation as a whole, can be a determining factor in their successful use of leadership.

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The Party Line
4:10 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

A Look At Early-Voting Stats

In a recent report, a bi-partisan presidential commission provided several recommendations regarding how Americans vote and promoting “confidence in the administration of U.S. elections.”

Chaired by a Democrat and a Republican, the commission focused its recommendations on the voter registration, poll access, polling place management and voting technology.

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The Party Line
12:32 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Seems Ready For Election Year

Michael Bitzer

President Obama visited Raleigh to announce the creation of a $140 million consortium of universities and companies to focus on advanced manufacturing.

But the president seemed to acknowledge in his remarks that he does recognize the coming mid-term election year, and is willing to confront what should be a more challenging year than he faced in 2013.

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The Party Line
1:32 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Unaffiliated Voter Numbers Continue To Rise, But They're Not As Likely To Vote

Now that we’re into the 2014 mid-term congressional year (officially), a new analysis by the think tank Third Way has documented an increasing trend: Most voters are not claiming a party affiliation. 

The report finds that since 2008, “there has been an explosion of Independents,” while the “number of registered voters of both parties has been stagnate (in some cases decreasing) in many states.” 

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The Party Line
12:38 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Looking Back On 2013, Ahead To 2014

Michael Bitzer

With thoughts turning to the New Year, I thought I would look back at the year of past blog posts that I wrote and what they may hold for the birth of a new political year.

The year of 2013 started with the U.S. House of Representatives and its speaker, John Boehner, coming out of a disastrous “Plan B” alternative to keep the country from going off the preverbal “fiscal cliff.” 

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The Party Line
1:46 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Rucho Shows He's No Historian In Shameful Tweet

Michael Bitzer

Politicians are notoriously prone to expressing hyperbole in their defense or attack on policies, especially when the policy comes from the opposite side of the political aisle.

But there are times when the hyperbole goes too far, and in our political discourse, it seems that some politicians can launch a broadside attack purely out of context and not deal with the resulting damage.

Recently, NC state senator Bob Rucho, Republican from Matthews, sent out the following Tweet:

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The Party Line
12:15 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Erosion Of Conservative Democrats, Liberal Republicans Made Nuclear Option Inevitable

J. Michael Bitzer

­Now that the “nuclear option” has been deployed in the United States Senate, many observers have begun wondering what might be the fallout from such a move. 

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