This seems like a weird parenthesis to put in an op-ed about Reagan's record on race:

(Mr. Reagan was understandably anathema in the black community not because of his personal views but because of his consistent opposition to federal civil rights legislation, most notably the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.)

Hitler is anathema in the Jewish community not because of his personal views, but because of his consistent advocacy of the eradication of Europe's Jewish population, most notably during the landmark Holocaust of the early 1940s. There's something wrong there, eh? Reagan was a politician. His political views are what matters. And during the crucial civil rights fights of the mid-1960s, Reagan stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the forces of white supremacy. How important Reagan's background as an anti-civil rights activist was to his 1980 election win seems debatable — I've previously noted that it wasn't a close election and the objective facts about the late 1970s would have made it extremely difficult for Carter to win re-election under any circumstances — but Reagan's record is his record, and his views about political issues are personal views, whether or not some of his best friends were black.