While Centrists like Joe Scarborough, Sam McKinnon and Michael Steele pretend to maintain limited government principles, they do so only to soft-sell their interventionist, status quo intentions. Centrists in the GOP are attempting to gain complete control of the party and Brooks has now brought it out in the open. Brooks is opposing more that radio talk show hosts and radical social conservatives. Brooks is uncovering the real opponents of the Centrists -- the limited government/free market conservatives who lean toward libertarianism. Brooks, in his sophomoric, psychologizing style, attributes limited government beliefs to regional culture that has programed the minds of southerners -- those durn revenoors!
Brooks ignores reality, as usual. Haley Barbour, Lindsay Graham, Saxby Chambliss and Lamar Alexander are some of the most centrist politicians in the GOP, not to mention the political players above, so his southern/northern dichotomy is silly. Brooks says that Centrists have to gain control through an alliance within the party, then they can force the guvmint hatin' southerners to go along with the plan. Brooks is not totally honest, because he still acts as if his GOP would not like excessive Progressive advancement -- they would work hard to curb statist excesses, but the GOP has to stop their criticism of Big Government, because it makes it impossible to govern effectively if you don't trust Big Government, or something like that.
This is nothing new, except that now the stakes are higher, and if the GOP continues the statist, Centrist route, there will be no opposition at all to the Progressive agenda and the expansion of State power. The need for a viable third party has never been greater. I said in 2008, when libertarian ideas were being discussed in MSM, and a faction of limited government conservatives formed in the GOP, that libertarianism would be attacked viciously by statists from both parties so that libertarians are marginalized and excluded from the GOP -- I was right.