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
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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The Party Line
9:49 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Round 2: Obama Strikes Different Tone

Michael Bitzer

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.”

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The Party Line
2:02 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

GOP Legislative Leaders Make Clear Who's In Charge

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.

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The Party Line
1:19 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Boehner Leads A Disorganized House

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.

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