The battle over Reagan and race that had been playing out recently on the New York Times op-ed page appeared to have subsided by the end of last week. But it received new life over the weekend when Reagan biographer Lou Cannon contributed a guest op-ed asserting that “Ronald Reagan was not a racist.”
Today, Paul Krugman responds, arguing, as he has before, that Reagan used racist appeals for political benefit. Referring to Mr. Cannon and Times columnist David Brooks, he notes: “Reagan’s defenders protest furiously that he wasn’t personally bigoted. So what? We’re talking about his political strategy. His personal beliefs are irrelevant.”
One other interesting note: The Reagan controversy prompted us to ask last week why Times columnists can’t refer to each other by name in their columns. Today, Mr. Krugman refers in passing to “my colleague Bob Herbert,” who has been on Mr. Krugman’s side on the issue. So if Times columnists can name their colleagues when they agree with them, why can’t they also do so when they disagree?