Times columnist David Brooks gets kind of huffy over implications that Ronald Reagan was a racist. He calls the accusation "one of the most heinous charges imaginable." I don't know if Reagan was personally racist (although a cursory looks at his films didn't turn up a single black actor as a co-star). It is true, however, that Reagan deliberately marketed himself to the cadre of Southern rednecks who had reluctantly put away their KKK hoods and were mourning the loss of their beloved Jim Crow laws. He used all of the right code words ("states rights" and "welfare queen"); only a fool would misunderstand his meaning. He was saying he shared their racism.
My interest is different. Where does "callously pitching to racists that you share their hatreds" fall on the list of Heinous Charges?