The grim outlook for Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections just got a little worse.Dodd wasn't going to win. This retirement may have something to do with that. Dorgan was facing a stiff challenge. I don't know much about Ritter. My new favorite political word is at play again, optics.Four top Democrats — including veteran Sens. Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan — all prepared to pull the plug on their campaigns in a 24-hour period that began Tuesday, and in the process, offered an unnerving glimpse at the perilous election year ahead.
With Dorgan’s stunning retirement announcement Tuesday evening, Democrats are now facing their bleakest election outlook in years — and the very real possibility the party will lose its 60-40 Senate supermajority after the November elections. On the House side, the prospect of a 20 to 30 seat loss is already looking increasingly likely.
These three retirements (two retirements and one dropping out of the race actually) aren't, in and of themselves, going to make or break the Democrats. What they do, all within 24 hours, is make the Democrats look desperate, weak and in chaos.
It's not merely that several powerful Democrats have decided to bow out, but that they've done it so close together. It creates the perception that Democrats are running for the hills. Also, it turns this into a major story for at least the next twenty four hours. The next twenty four hours will bring analysis that will largely echo mine.
Now, we're still ten months away from the election. There's plenty of time to turn things around. The jobs picture is looking better. Still, the Democrats are heading for a blood bath on this current dynamic. Whether they do or don't pass the health care bill, it is a total political disaster for them. The next few days cable news will be hyperanalyzing Obama's going back on his pledge to broadcast deliberations. That's simply indefensible. The public hates the bill. So, at best or worst, they will pass a bill in a partisan fashion that the public hates.
We'll still have high unemployment. Obama looks weak, confused and not in control on terrorism. Is it any wonder that all sorts of Democrats are calling it quits?