THEY’RE ‘DROPPING LIKE FLIES’…. Last week, much of the media decided that retirements among congressional Democrats were evidence of shifting political winds that will greatly benefit Republicans. In one report from ABC News, two Democratic retirements in the Senate was characterized as Dems “dropping like flies.”

In the meantime, Republican retirements not only outnumber Democrats, the GOP total keeps growing.

Arizona Rep. John Shadegg announced this afternoon that he will not seek re-election, the 14th Republican to step aside so far in the 111th Congress. […]

Shadegg has long coveted a spot in the Senate and was widely seen as at the front of the line in the event Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) had been elected president in 2008. His 3rd district, which takes in much of Phoenix’s northern suburbs, gave native son McCain a 14 point margin in 2008 and went for President George W. Bush by 17 points four years earlier.

Despite the spate of stories detailing Democratic retirement problems, Shadegg is the third straight Republican House member to announce his departure — joining Reps. Henry Brown (S.C.) and George Radanovich (Calif.) on the sidelines.

I guess they’re “dropping like flies,” right?

In a statement, the DCCC’s Ryan Rudominer said, “[I]nstead of drinking Eric Cantor and the NRCC’s Kool-Aid, House Republicans continue to show a lack of confidence in their ability to take back the House as Republican retirements are mounting and their own members refuse to invest in the NRCC.”

As for Shadegg, his seat will be a difficult pick-up opportunity for Democrats, but his absence on the Hill will probably be most felt by those chronicling ridiculous remarks from right-wing lawmakers. It was, for example, Shadegg who recently called Dems’ health care reform efforts “Soviet-style gulag health care.” A month later, he condemned NYC Michael Bloomberg for supporting trials for suspected 9/11 terrorists. Shadegg raised the specter of Bloomberg’s children getting kidnapped.

Not exactly an elevate-the-discourse kind of guy.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.