DAVID BROOKS….I’m willing to give David Brooks a break. Writing a biweekly column is probably harder than it looks, and figuring out something interesting to say on demand is an art that takes time to master.

But still. Four days ago he wrote an entire column suggesting that despite a huge amount of sniping at Howard Dean from the Democratic establishment (remember these memos?), the Dems couldn’t really be taken seriously unless they followed George Bush’s lead in the 2000 election and started making dark suggestions that he had fathered a bastard mulatto baby.

Today, taking on the persona of the thinking man’s Peggy Noonan, he has a conversation with an obscure dead philosopher. His conclusion? The criminal neglect with which the Bush administration treated postwar planning in Iraq is actually a good thing. It’s a sign of our “epistemological modesty,” a legacy of the founding fathers.

Right. As for me, I’m proud to belong to a party that confines itself to garden variety mudslinging and cheap shots, and I think I’ll maintain my faith that especially in a chaotic world it’s a good idea to plan ahead instead of simply assuming that we’ll be welcomed with open arms.

I guess what I really wonder is whether Brooks actually believes what he wrote in either of these columns. Or was he just hard up for ideas?