The Party Line

­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. 

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

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. 

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

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.

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

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.

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.

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

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.

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

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.” 

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

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:

Michael Bitzer
WFAE

­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. 

The standing line for most presidential aspirations goes, “what does every first-term president want? A second term.” However, it may be something future presidents want to reconsider.

With the past four presidents who served a second term (Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Obama), the fifth year seems to be one that they would all rather have done without.

But there are two key differences between the presidents of the 1980s and 1990s and those who held the office in the 21st Century.

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