The Party Line

The Party Line: Raising the Curtain on Carolina Politics, is dedicated to examining regional issues and policies through the figures who give shape to them. These are critical, complex, and even downright confusing times we live in. There’s a lot to navigate nationally and in the Carolinas; whether it’s debates on gay marriage, public school closings, or tax incentives for economic development.  The Party Line’s goal is to offer a provocative, intelligent look at the issues and players behind the action; a view that ultimately offers the necessary insight for Carolina voters to hold public servants more accountable.

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The Party Line
12:25 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

McCrory's First 100 Days

Michael Bitzer

Now that we have reached the first 100 days of Governor McCrory’s administration (the mythical standard of time to pass judgment, based on FDR’s break-neck pace of New Deal legislating), some early thoughts on how the unified Republican state government, especially the state’s chief executive, is doing.

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The Party Line
10:09 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

A Look At High Court's Opinion-Crafting Process

Michael Bitzer

So now the briefs and oral arguments are filed in the same-sex marriage cases with the U.S. Supreme Court—now what?

As probably one of the least transparent institutions of our government, the court’s decision-making process is left solely to the nine members of the high court.  But we do know, from the research on judicial politics in political science, that this period between the court’s public arguments and the release of a decision (expected in late June) can be just as crucial as any public discussion.

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The Party Line
11:07 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Religion Resolution Aptly Introduced On April 1st

Michael Bitzer

As you may have heard by now, a joint resolution has been introduced into the North Carolina General Assembly that proclaims religious liberty, especially as it relates to a court case coming out of Rowan County. 

The resolution goes through a number of points, which all deserve some explanation; first, the resolution begins:

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The Party Line
5:15 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

GOP Has Long Way To Go In Appealing To Minorities

Michael Bitzer

In their rather blunt assessment of the debacle that was the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee came to a simple conclusion. It can’t continue down the same path and remain politically relevant.

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The Party Line
4:52 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

A Legal Primer As High Court Decides Gay Marriage

Michael Bitzer

In his 18th century tour of the new American republic, Alexis de Tocqueville commented that most controversies eventually arrive in court. Over its history, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld de Tocqueville’s observation in key battles, both political and social. 

And the justices on the high court are preparing to confront a new set of controversies. 

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The Party Line
1:59 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

In Regard To Rowan Commissioners, 'Bless Their Hearts'

Michael Bitzer

In the Bible belt that is the South, the role of church and state are often intertwined in such a manner as to appear one in the same.  But when it comes to divorcing the Christian faith from government practices, you begin to see the truth in the expression “the devil made me do it.”

Typically, the South is the only region in the nation where a majority of voters describe themselves as either “born-again” or “Evangelical Christians” in the exit polls.

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The Party Line
3:50 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

GOP Lawmakers Should Consider Voter ID Compromise

Michael Bitzer

With the GOP-led NC General Assembly beginning a “deliberative” consideration of requiring photo identification when voting, the heated rhetoric on both sides has only inflamed the passions of both supporters and opponents to Voter ID laws.

Anecdotal examples of people claiming to have voted multiple times are charged by one side, while the other side decrying the proposed legislation with charges of “we will fight them in the streets.”

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The Party Line
6:05 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Sen. Paul Captures Enthusiasm With Filibuster

Michael Bitzer

For those who have seen the American classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the lead-up to Sen. Jefferson Smith’s talk-a-thon is the classic image of a filibuster.  And while historically filibusters have been rare, Sen. Rand Paul made history with his nearly 13-hour speech, cracking the top 10 longest filibusters in U.S. Senate history.

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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?” 

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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.

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