One thing Richard Burr's going to have trouble with next year is producing examples of his ever pursuing an independent course from the Bush or Republican agenda. Jesse Helms excluded, North Carolinians tend to vote for centrists and Burr's actions and votes during his term in the Senate have been pretty universally conservative.
That's why I wonder if he should vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor. There's no way she's going to get rejected anyway, and it would provide a high profile example he could tout to Democrats and independents next year as an example of his being cooperative with the President in some instances while opposing him in others. Obama's approval rating may be down but he's still a lot more popular in North Carolina than either of the state's Senators. Having examples to show he doesn't just serve in Washington to be an obstructionist would help Burr down the line. And while some Republicans would doubtless be antagonized by Burr voting to approve Sotomayor, there's really nowhere for them to go.
It will be interesting to see what he does.