This column by David Brooks in today's New York Times is causing quite a stir. In it, Brooks argues that with Obama's budget, which he suggests is "unchecked liberalism," and the "Rush Limbaugh brigades" on the right, moderates have found little in the current political climate to which they can grab hold.

Here are his key grafs:
Those of us who consider ourselves moderates
But I disagree with him profoundly about the Obama budget--and so, I would venture, do most moderate-liberals. The budget has to be seen in context. We are at the end of a 30-year period of radical conservatism, a period so right-wing that many of those now considered "liberals"--like, say, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaArizona election audit draws Republican tourists Biden tries to erase Trump's 'America First' on world stage Queen Elizabeth will need to call upon her charm for Biden's visit MORE--would be seen as moderate pantywaists in the great sweep of modern political history. The past 30 years have been such a violent departure from the norm, such a profound destruction of the basic functions of government, that a major rectification is called for now--in rebalancing the system of taxation toward progressivity, in rebuilding the infrastructure of the country, not just physically, but also socially and intellectually.

Ed Kilgore ads this zinger:
The "moderation" Brooks is championing seems to represent little more than an instinctive reaction against any coherent plan of action, and a horror of following through with the logic of progressive--and actually, "moderate"--analysis of why the economy has collapsed and what, specifically, needs to be done to revive the country.

And Steve Benen:
It is, in other words, time for moderation for moderation's sake. There's precious little in Brooks' "manifesto" about problem solving, or even criticism of the president's policy agenda. The NYT columnist simply wants to go slow for the sake of going slow, pursuing incremental changes for the same of incrementalism. It's not so much a philosophy or approach to governing, so much as it's a desire to drive with one foot on the brake

I found the column interesting not so much for his criticism of Obama and his budget but for Brooks' description of his ostracization from the right. I immediately thought of his scathing criticism of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) response to Obama's address to Congress and, this week, what can only be described as the continued rise of Rush Limbaugh.

It also reminds me of Matt Bai's profile of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the New York Times Magazine last week. In it, Bai, perhaps better than anyone else, describes the two philosophies for a resurgent GOP currently dominating the conversation: retrenchment (meaning the GOP lost its way from its core conservative values which are still shared by a majority of Americans) and broadening (meaning the GOP needs to become a party with a bigger tent).

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I think it isn't too far of a leap to suggest that Brooks is, at least in part, in the broadener camp. In the last week, though, with CPAC and the ensuing feuds between Limbaugh and White House, plus Limbaugh and RNC Chairman Michael Steele, the retrenchers have seized the headlines.

What do you think? Is Brooks off base? What is the future of the GOP?

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com