WHEN THE GOP LOSES DAVID BROOKS…. Yesterday, in the aftermath of the fiasco on the House floor, my friend Kevin Drum explained, “The Republican Party is now officially hostage to a band of primitive conservative ideologues whose knowledge of economics was already outdated when Christians were being fed to lions. They are simply beyond belief.”

It appears that the New York Times’ David Brooks, in a pleasant surprise, has come to largely the same conclusion, specifically about the House GOP caucus.

It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party. Not long ago, they led an anti-immigration crusade that drove away Hispanic support. Then, too, they listened to the loudest and angriest voices in their party, oblivious to the complicated anxieties that lurk in most American minds.

Now they have once again confused talk radio with reality. If this economy slides, they will go down in history as the Smoot-Hawleys of the 21st century. With this vote, they’ve taken responsibility for this economy, and they will be held accountable. The short-term blows will fall on John McCain, the long-term stress on the existence of the G.O.P. as we know it.

I’ve spoken with several House Republicans over the past few days and most admirably believe in free-market principles. What’s sad is that they still think it’s 1984. They still think the biggest threat comes from socialism and Walter Mondale liberalism. They seem not to have noticed how global capital flows have transformed our political economy.

It’s nice of Brooks to notice. Better late than never.

On a related note, Brad DeLong added yesterday, “This Republican Party needs to be burned, razed to the ground, and the furrows sown with salt…”

Given recent events, it’s hardly an unreasonable prescription.

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.