Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks is on target when he savaged right wing Republicans and their wimpy enablers that stood by as the party was hijacked by loopy extremists that have worked to drag this nation into the gutter.

Here is what he had to say in today’s column:

All across the nation, there are mainstream Republicans lamenting how the party has grown more and more insular, more and more rigid. This year, they have an excellent chance to defeat President Obama, yet the wingers have trashed the party’s reputation by swinging from one embarrassing and unelectable option to the next: Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum.

But where have these party leaders been over the past five years, when all the forces that distort the G.O.P. were metastasizing? Where were they during the rise of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck? Where were they when Arizona passed its beyond-the-fringe immigration law? Where were they in the summer of 2011 when the House Republicans rejected even the possibility of budget compromise? They were lying low, hoping the unpleasantness would pass.

The wingers call their Republican opponents RINOs, or Republican In Name Only. But that’s an insult to the rhino, which is a tough, noble beast. If RINOs were like rhinos, they’d stand up to those who seek to destroy them. Actually, what the country needs is some real Rhino Republicans. But the professional Republicans never do that. They’re not rhinos. They’re Opossum Republicans. They tremble for a few seconds then slip into an involuntary coma every time they’re challenged aggressively from the right.

Without real opposition, the wingers go from strength to strength. Under their influence, we’ve had a primary campaign that isn’t really an argument about issues. It’s a series of heresy trials in which each of the candidates accuse the others of tribal impurity. Two kinds of candidates emerge from this process: first, those who are forceful but outside the mainstream; second, those who started out mainstream but look weak and unprincipled because they have spent so much time genuflecting before those who despise them.

Neither is likely to win in the fall. Before the G.O.P. meshugana campaign, independents were leaning toward the G.O.P. But, in the latest Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll, Obama leads Mitt Romney among independents by 49 percent to 27 percent.

The problem is that the GOP has put “too much God” into politics. When you turn every issue into a holy war it makes it impossible to compromise and find reasonable solutions. If one stakes out a position in the name of God, if the position deviates, even slightly, it is portrayed by wing nuts as unprincipled and unGodly. This explains the gridlock in Congress and the feckless or fanatical candidates running for President.

Clearly, the solution is someone like Santorum winning the nomination and getting crushed by a 20-point margin and horribly damaging the GOP’s brand in the process. The wreckage has to be so severe and complete that the Religious Right is expelled from the GOP. Or, the remaining Wall Street Republicans are so sickened by the nuts that they stop enabling them by cutting off their financial support.

Until this major realignment occurs, the GOP — and America– will be hostage to extreme and unsavory elements who will continue weakening the foundation of this country.

The Pat Robertson/Ralph Reed/Tony Perkins/ Rick Santorum/Michele Bachmann crowd have been in power long enough. It is time they are permanently expelled from the GOP and forced to the margins before they further corrupt and undermine this nation.