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.

Pages

The Party Line
11:24 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Is The South More Racist Than The North?

While congressional leadership and President Obama unveiled a statue of civil rights advocate Rosa Parks last week, the U.S. Supreme Court debated one of the landmark laws that culminated the modern civil rights movement for black Americans: the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

In oral arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts posed the question to the government’s top Supreme Court lawyer: Does the Obama administration think “the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North?” 

Read more
The Party Line
11:43 am
Wed February 27, 2013

NC Democrats Need To Call Up Some Fresh Faces

Michael Bitzer

With the release of the provocative and no holds barred “NC 2013 Legislative Strategy” memo as reported by The Charlotte Observer, liberal advocacy groups are finally learning the lessons that conservative groups have been teaching them for some time: Be prepared to play the same game and have a playbook.

Read more
The Party Line
1:43 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

About The Return Of The Fiscal Cliff, AKA The 'Sequester'

Congress has now turned its attention to the “Return of the Fiscal Cliff: Part 1—The Son of Sequester.”

Sequestration sounds like a really bad version of the flu bug, but instead it’s a really bad case of Congress and the president holding Damocles’ sword over their heads and arguing about who is to blame when the sword falls.

In its raw form, “sequester” refers to automatic spending cuts set to take effect in March, courtesy of the New Year’s Fiscal Cliff negotiations that merely postponed the across-the-board cuts.

Read more
The Party Line
5:10 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

McCrory Focuses On The Three E's; Steers Clear Of Social Issues

In studying the chief executives of governments, the power of the “bully pulpit” is often mentioned as a critical tool for any political leader.

Akin to the presidential versions, State of the State addresses should not be judged for specific details (there’s plenty of time and energy to expended on that through the legislative process); rather, how effective these addresses are in conveying a sense of the chief executive’s priorities and agenda.

Read more
The Party Line
1:51 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

GOP Lawmakers' Message Clear: Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Michael Bitzer

When the constitution’s framers developed the American system to handle governing power, they divided power in two distinct ways: the first is horizontally, by giving pieces of different powers (law-making, law-executing, law-adjudicating) to different branches of government. Hence, our “checks and balances” approach to government.

The second distinct way is by dividing power vertically, through a system we now call federalism on the levels of national, state, and local.

Read more
The Party Line
11:22 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Obama's Address Lacked Transformative Vision

Michael Bitzer

If the ‘once-every-four-years’ inaugural addresses are the high and visionary type of speeches that presidents give, then the State of the Union addresses are the means by which presidents fill in that vision with specificity.

This year’s combination of inaugural and State of the Union addresses by President Obama certainly did that in tandem, but didn’t bring anything new to the table beyond items that would rate high in public opinion, but no real chance to becoming formal policy.

Read more
The Party Line
2:03 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

McCrory Needs To Talk Like A Governor, Not A Candidate

New administrations have “growing pains,” especially those where the party in power changes. After running for governor for nearly five years, the McCrory administration appears to be falling into the “honeymoon” plague period that other administrations find themselves in.

Read more
The Party Line
4:01 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Republican Lawmakers Demonstrate An Old Adage

Michael Bitzer

Back in 1831, U.S. Senator William Macy coined the phrase “to the victor go the spoils. In a war or other contest, the winner gets the booty.” In our modern times, “other contests” can be thought of as election contests just as easily. 

With the recent legislation by Republicans in the NC State Senate to strip clean a significant number of state commissions and boards, the saying about “elections having consequences” is as important as the spoils going to the victor. 

Read more
The Party Line
4:44 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Sore Losers? GOP Proposals Would Change Rules Of Election Game

The theme of the recent Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Charlotte was “Renew, Grow and Win.” But it was more about the party of older, white males trying to learn 2012’s electoral lessons in order to face a changing electorate.

While the national GOP sought ways to revitalize the party, other Republicans were plotting ways of “winning” without really renewing or growing. Instead, they want to change the rules of the game.

Read more
The Party Line
12:14 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

In Gun Debate, Don't Count On Pols To Seek Common Ground

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.   

Read more

Pages