Forgive the intrusion of some non-presidential news, but the retirement of Rep. John Shadegg -- by my count the 26th Republican to call it quits this cycle -- reminds us of one of the foundational principles of politics today, which is that all signs point to an enormous lack of energy among rank-and-file Republicans and the likelihood that the next president will govern with the Democrats having enlarged their majorities in the House and Senate. Just last week, two Republicans on the appropriations committee announced their retirements, too. That doesn't happen if you're confident about regaining a majority in November.

Shadegg's seat isn't in danger -- he routinely gets 60% of the vote -- but in retiring, conservatives lose of their more innovative members. Shadegg intends to run for John McCain's Senate seat.

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