donkeyThe announcements by Democrat Senators Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Byron Dorgan (N.D.) last week that they will not be running for reelection in 2010 raised both concerns by Democrats and hopes of Republicans.

Even in the Republican Tsunami of 1994, the Grand Old Party did not really come close to taking the U.S. Senate seat ordained in perpetuity for the Kennedy family and its political heirs. But the last prince of Camelot is dead, and while Martha Coakley no doubt knew the late Senator and may even have been a friend of Ted Kennedy, Martha Coakley is no Ted Kennedy.

Congressional battles are about who gets what, it is sometimes said, while presidential elections are about who and what we are as a people. One of the issues to be settled in the House and Senate conference over healthcare insurance reform is who and what U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak is.

U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn., picture at left) is expected to announce this morning that he will not be a candidate for a sixth term in the Senate, thus ending a Dodd family reign in the Senate and in Connecticut politics that goes back to the election of his father, Thomas J. Dodd, to the Senate in 1958. The elder Dodd, a popular prosecutor with a strong anit-communist stance, was a favorite with the state's conservative Catholic Democrats and was a familiar speaker at Catholic events, being a frequent keynoter at Knights of Columbus communion breakfasts.

Several recent polls show the American people to be in a sour mood and anxious about the future, according to an op-ed column in the New York Times.