Last month I told a luncheon crowd I was speaking to that if I was Richard Burr, and my first priority was really getting reelected in 2010, that I would vote for Barack Obama in the privacy of the ballot box.
Why? Can you imagine how endangered vulnerable Republicans like Burr, Mel Martinez, and George Voinovich would be two years from now if the country stayed on its current course and there was still a Republican in the White House? Any hopes of reelection would have gone kaput.
Now if things continue to go bad they can blame it on the Democrats, which should give at least some boost to Burr's hopes for reelection.
The question is whether 2010 will be more like 1994 or 2002. Obviously Democrats got hammered after Bill Clinton's first two years in the White House, and that's the overwhelming historic trend. But the Republicans broke that trend, at least for one cycle, in 2002.
The fact that Barack Obama's transition seems to continue the remarkable discipline his campaign showed bodes well for his ability to govern. And the reality is that what happens in North Carolina in 2010 will probably have a lot more to do with Obama than it does with either Burr or whoever ends up challenging him.