Bowing out

Republicans have high hopes for 2010 -- and with good reason if the surprise developments of the new year's first week are any indication.

On Wednesday, Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota announced they would not seek re-election.

Make no mistake: These decisions reflect that neither man believes he can win in November given the current political climate.

Sen. Dodd, dogged over the past year by allegations of unethical behavior, admitted as much, saying he was in the "toughest shape" of his political career. Sen. Dorgan offered that he wanted to pursue other interests.

The news represents "a dispiriting trend" for Democrats, according to The Associated Press.

North Dakota will be a difficult seat for Democrats to hold. The state leans Republican, and President Obama's big government tendencies don't play well there, outside his devotion to farm subsidies.

In Connecticut, the situation is more upbeat for Democrats. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal quickly announced he'd seek Sen. Dodd's seat. He likely will be favored to win. But previous polls had showed GOP challengers beating Sen. Dodd, so any coronation of Mr. Blumenthal may be premature -- especially given his close ties to the trial bar.

Ten months is an eternity in politics. But it doesn't take Kreskin to realize that the most recent developments don't bode well for national Democrats.