In today's Times, David Brooks spends his entire column denouncing and deconstructing what he sees as a hideous, partisan "calumny" against Ronald Reagan—namely, the suggestion that the Gipper's launching his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., with a speech invoking states' rights was somehow an appeal to racists. It is a filthy "slur" that has been around for years but has "spread like a weed in recent months," says Brooks, noting with disgust that it's purveyors are "people who, before making one of the most heinous charges imaginable, couldn't even take 10 minutes to look at the evidence."
Oh my God! What kind of monster (scrupulously unnamed by Brooks) would possibly stoop to such such a thing? Hmmmm. Could Brooks have in mind, oh, I don't know, fellow Times pontificator Paul Krugman, whose column appears mere inches from his and whose recent book, "The Conscience of a Liberal," mentions Reagan's Philadelphia appearance multiple times—as Michael Tomasky reminds us in his review of Krugman's book, which just so happens to appear in the current issue of The New York Review of Books.
Subtle, David. Verrrrry subtle.