It was business as usual at CNN yesterday. On The Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer reported:
North Dakota's Democratic senator, Byron Dorgan, just announced he won't run for reelection to the U.S. Senate in November. The surprise announcement could give Republicans a chance to pick up a Senate seat in that red state. Dorgan was first elected to the Senate back in 1992 after serving a dozen years in the House. The moderate Democrat says he wants to pursue other interests.
Hours later on her program, Campbell Brown announced:
On the political front, a big blow to Democrats' hopes of keeping control of the Senate. North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan announced today he won't run for reelection this year, a big surprise here. Dorgan was expected to easily win a fourth term, so a boost for Republicans there.
Is Dorgan a moderate, as Blitzer described him? Interest group ratings compiled by Project Vote Smart show:
A 100 percent rating for 2008 from NARAL Pro-Choice America
A 90 percent rating for 2008 from Americans for Democratic Action
A 100 percent rating for 2008 from the AFL-CIO
A grade of A from the National Education Association for 2007-2008
A 100 percent rating for 2007-2008 from the American Civil Liberties Union
An 8 percent rating for 2008 from the American Conservative Union
A grade of D for 2008 from the National Taxpayers Union
And what of Brown's claim that Dorgan was expected to easily win reelection? Last month, The Bismarck Tribune headlined, "Poll shows Hoeven leading Dorgan." It began:
Health care reform could hurt Sen. Bryon Dorgan’s re-election bid, according to a new poll released Monday. Rasmussen Reports, which lists itself as an electronic publishing company that does public opinion polling, found Gov. John Hoeven leading Dorgan by 22 points — 58 percent to 36 percent with 6 percent undecided.
A Zogby poll taken in November showed Dorgan losing to Hoeven by 55% to 36% with 9% undecided. The same poll also disclosed strong opposition to Obama's health care bill, legislation supported by Dorgan.
Yet CNN saw an easy win for the moderate Dorgan. As Democratic politicians drop like flies out of their races, it should be pretty obvious that an association with Obama's policies can be hazardous to one's political health. Even CNN may eventually figure that out.