WASHINGTON - The recent retirement announcements by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. and Chris Dodd, D-Conn., are sparking talk about Democratic losses in this year's congressional elections.
The picture being painted for Democrats in 2010 is anything but pretty. President Barack Obama's public approval ratings are at about 50 percent. And the Democratically-controlled Congress is half that - at about 25 percent.
Throw in the retirement announcements and how they will play in this year's midterm elections, and Democrats certainly have reason to worry. To be clear, both Dodd and Dorgan were in difficult political waters.
Nathan Gonzales, editor for the Rothenberg Political Report, appeared Thursday on CBN News' Midday program to discuss what Dodd and Dorgan's departure means for the U.S. political landscape. Click here for that interview.
Public opinion polls show Dorgan trailing by as much as 30 points in a head-to-head match against the state's Republican Gov. John Hoeven.
Matters were even worse for Dodd. Some in his own party had virtually written off his re-election bid. This is all good news for Republicans.
Taking out widely recognized namebrands that have been around for 30 years or more gives Republican challengers a better shot at taking some of those toss up seats.
Still, Dodd's retirement may wind up helping Democrats win in Connecticut.
The state's popular attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, announced that he will run, and he outperforms all of the Republicans candidates in that race. This has implications for the White House.
Obama cannot effectively govern without Congress. The White House is absolutely paying close attention because Democrats stand to lose the barely filibuster-proof majority they currently have in the Senate and that could put Obama's legislative priorities in jeopardy.
For example, the healthcare bill the Senate passed last month would not have happened if they did not have 60 Democrats voting for the bill.