Hank Johnson should apologize — or, at least, retract

Say it ain’t so, Hank.

Until now, Hank Johnson, a quiet (even boring) Buddhist, has been the perfect antidote to Cynthia McKinney, whom he defeated in 2006. But today, he went off on a little McKinney- like tirade. He told reporters that he supports a resolution reprimanding Joe Wilson because Wilson’s heckling could lead us back to the days of the Ku Klux Klan.

It did not help the cause of diversity and tolerance with his remarks. If I was a betting man, I’d say it instigated more racist sentiment, feeling that it’s OK, that you don’t have to bury it down,” Johnson said.

“I guess we’ll probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside, intimidating people,” he said. “That’s the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked.”

No, Hank, that’s a perfectly illogical conclusion. What Wilson did was boorish and offensive, but it wasn’t racist. You don’t do anything to highlight genuine bigotry, which is still aloose in the land, when you accuse everyone who offends you of racist sentiment.

Stop it. Apologize.

132 comments Add your comment

Swami Dave

September 15th, 2009
4:40 pm

Thanks. On this, we can agree that he chose an extremely poor reference with which to impune someone (and, actually, a group of people) with whom he happens to disagree. It is probably representative of a level of frustration that he (if not a larger group of those with whom he would happen to agree philosophically) feels after recent events.

Poor form, indeed.



September 15th, 2009
5:01 pm

I guess it depends on Mr. Johnson’s motives. If it was his intent to piggyback on Mr. Wilson’s 15 minutes of fame then yes, the Congressman who represents my district should just shut up. Reading through the posts on that TPM site and this gem caught my eye:

Johnson is correct; and that’s why I said this needs to be autopsied in the bright light of day so everyone sees what it is. I, for one, won’t tolerate the racist effort to sweep it under the rug with the excuse that telling the truth about it is some sort of bad politics.

Silence is assent. I won’t be part of the silence.

Rev Al Sharptongue

September 15th, 2009
5:15 pm

Wilson is a racist. he is a member of the sons of confederate veterans. He supported the confederate flag in SC.
look at the tea party people with their witch doctor obama signs, or my favorite signs are the ones that state next time we will bring our weapons.

what are the insinuating?

Hank should not apoligize the racist element is getting bolder. Look around here the last month, two whitemen have abused minorities. one slapped a child and one beat a woman in a cracker barrel restaurant. These are angry racists acts by people upset with the current administration and they are lashing out like the lynch mobs of old.

We know these people are capable of heinous acts


September 15th, 2009
5:16 pm

Indeed. You do not have to look for and make up racism. Usually it smacks you in the face. When you get smacked in the face with it, I believe everyone will join your cause, including Joe Wilson.


September 15th, 2009
5:17 pm

I’m a bit confused here, because just last month Newsbusters posted a clip of Ms. Tucker on Hardball, in which she made the “off the cuff” claim that “45 to 65 percent of the people who appear at [town hall meetings to protest the health insurance reform bill] will never be comfortable with the idea of a black president.”

So it was fine for Ms. Tucker last month to accuse opponents of health insurance reform of racism, but not okay for Hank Johnson to do that same thing to Joe Wilson. What am I missing?

Or does Ms. Tucker plan to “stop it [and] apologize” herself? Because, to paraphrase her own words, you don’t do anything to highlight genuine racism when “off the cuff” you accuse half the people who disagree with health insurance reform of racist sentiment.

Class of '98

September 15th, 2009
5:43 pm

That coca-cola I just drank must have been laced with LSD, because I am hallucinating.

There is NO WAY Cynthia Tucker wrote an column saying that someone who disagrees with King Obama IS NOT a racist.


September 15th, 2009
6:43 pm

Your logic on this incident is quite refreshing.

Good show.


September 15th, 2009
6:52 pm

You are correct, Johnson owes his constituents an apology.


September 15th, 2009
7:04 pm

…Johnson owes his constituents an apology.

Speaking as one of his constituents, I want an explanation/clarification first–then I can decide if I feel insulted by his representation.


September 15th, 2009
7:13 pm

Rev Al Sharptongue said
“We know these people are capable of heinous acts”
When you say “these People”, you must be referring to the five monsters the tortured and killed Channon Christian and Chris Newsom in Tennessee.


September 15th, 2009
8:49 pm

“..What Wilson did was boorish and offensive, but it wasn’t racist. You don’t do anything to highlight genuine bigotry, which is still aloose in the land, when you accuse everyone who offends you of racist sentiment…”

Okay AJC, quit the kidding and playing with the keyboard and release Ms. Tucker !!

Call it Like It Is

September 15th, 2009
9:03 pm

Let’s see, Rev Jackson, Obama, Rev Sharpton, Kayne West, Jamie Foxx, Tucker, and McKinney, ALL RACIST!

Wilson, told the truth.

Enough Said!


September 15th, 2009
9:18 pm

i never get why whites call cynthia tucker a racist! imo, she’s always on their side. i used to read her columns, and couldn’t believe some of the drivel she wrote. it seemed to me she didn’t like blacks very much, and actually, hated poor blacks with a passion. that was just my opinion, and i hope i was mistaken. but, that’s how i saw it.


September 15th, 2009
9:31 pm

Who cares what Wilson shouted at the President. Let the racist continue to live in the ’40s,’50,and today.Just remember it ain’t over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


September 15th, 2009
9:37 pm

I can’t believe this. After years of embarrassment with McKinney I though Congressman Johnson would be different. I am so tired of looking like a fool for living in the 4th district. I believe that Obama lies to America on a daily basis. I believed the same of Bush. I don’t trust politicians, especially when they repeat statments that have already been disproven. So, I think that Joe Wilson was right, even though he lacked judgement. Calling this racist just makes a racist out of Congressman Johnson, and immediately ends the discussion. What a jerk.


September 15th, 2009
9:45 pm

Wow, I agree with Cynthia, just about every word. That’s unusual.

Public Option, NEVER

September 15th, 2009
9:50 pm

I see Jimmy Carter – the WORST president ever – has begun showing serious signs of brain loss tonight with his “racist” rant. It reminds me of an old joke from the ’70’s. Who has the BIGGEST BOOBS – Answer: Miss Lillian.

kunta kinte lynched in amerika

September 15th, 2009
9:55 pm

Every now and then Ms. Tucker writes from another planet…this is one of those times…check must be in the mail…rat on


September 15th, 2009
9:59 pm

Cynthia, Now, how about an accountable story on ACORN?

algonquin J. Calhoun

September 15th, 2009
10:04 pm

Oh, I forgot to include this nugget about the racist Wilson. In 2000,while a member of the South Carolina Senate, Wilson voted against removing the Confederate battle flag from being displayed over the state house. The final tally was 36-7 in favor of removing that hideous rag and removed it was.

Cynthia, you are getting agreement from these honkies because you have, mistakenly I think, not come out in support of Hank. The evidence is there. Wilson is a racist and he rehearsed his gross interjection in front of a mirror before delivering it! He’s a racist and you’re seeing more and more of that sort of thing come to the fore. When the fascists call Obama a socialist and a Marxist they really want to call him a n****r. You know and so do I!

Double standard

September 15th, 2009
10:08 pm

You have to look no further than Atlanta city government to see true bigotry. Try to pull permits as a white man for any type of project.
Obama is lying. What is wrong with calling him out? When a black man accused Bush of lying on some topic was that racist or bigoted?


September 15th, 2009
10:10 pm

The only people who comment on editorials are people that are incapable of forming their own opinions. This person’s entire job is to be “controversial” so you people will read her column and argue and fight. This so called “journalist” doesn’t care if you agree or disagree. She only cares that you read her column so she can keep her job. You people are really a very sad group.
And to clarify, I am commenting on the losers that comment on editorials, not the editorial itself. There is a difference.


September 15th, 2009
10:13 pm

Fascists, honkies? Algonequin, you are an IDIOT!


September 15th, 2009
10:23 pm

I understand where Johnson comes from, but just because a lot of racists heckle black people doesn’t make it so in this case. Wilson is a doofus who obviously doesn’t feel sorry for what he has done. Had he agreed to apologize on the House floor, the vote today wouldn’t have been necessary and the story would probably have been gone thanks to Kanye. But instead he’s a hero to a lot of people who think Congress is the same thing as a comedy club. No matter who the person is speaking in Congress, he or she should be given the respect that you would give royalty. You don’t have to agree, but you should at least act mature. “Democrats did it!” isn’t an excuse.


September 15th, 2009
10:26 pm

Hank fired his white legislative director today. Coincidence?

Public Option, NEVER!

September 15th, 2009
10:29 pm

Michael, Did you mean to leave out that Obama, and Pelosi said the issue was over? Congress is royalty, only THEY think so.

BIll Tuttle

September 15th, 2009
10:37 pm

Johnson is a jackass. How typical of so many liberals – always use the “racist” attack. These are the folks that keep racial problems going.


September 15th, 2009
10:39 pm

OMG!!!!!!! I finally agree with something Ms. Tucker has written! What is the world coming to???


September 15th, 2009
10:41 pm

Nice to see the Black Klux Klan out in force, being just as racist as their inbred white counterparts, the Original “Sheetheads.”


September 15th, 2009
10:57 pm

Wilson could have calibrated his words differently.


September 15th, 2009
10:57 pm

Sweet Jesus. It just happened again. I agreed with Cynthia, and was actually proud some something she wrote.

I have struggled to understand how Maureen Down, Hank Johnson, and now Jimmy Carter have made the connection between Rep. Wilson’s childish TWO WORD outburst and racism.

To those who fuel this fire– go ahead and continue to label everything racist. You’ve used the word until it’s utterly meaningless, and completely disregarded. People are numb to the charge. And I don’t think that’s particularly helpful.


September 15th, 2009
10:58 pm

KKK coming back? Aren’t the Democrats still in power? Wait they were the ones who started the group (KKK). So who is racist outside of Carter, Pelosi, Tucker, McKinney, Obama and let not forget the AJC. Sounds like the left are the racist folks.


September 15th, 2009
11:01 pm

No, Cynthia, Africanized Americans can’t be racists or bigots–and they should never apologize about any racial matter. Trot out a Klan or Bull Connor (D-AL) reference or say something about sitting on the back of the bus (circa 1962) and the white folks just shrivel up and go away.

Haven’t you been reading your own columns?

algonquin J. Calhoun

September 15th, 2009
11:10 pm

Patrick, you seem to be overly sensitive to the idea of being lumped in with the rest of the readers, and commenters on editorials. You stress that you are merely commenting upon those who have commented upon Ms. Tucker’s blog. You say this pride because in your mind you are superior to the people writing in. You have merely dropped by to point and giggle at the rabble as they line up for their opinion. Everybody, of your ilk, needs someone to look down upon. In the greater world that is called prejudice. Patrick, thanks for dropping by. If we need anything else from you or the scumbag Acorn we’ll let you know. Shove off douche bag. I din’t even need anyone to give me an opinion of you Honky!


September 15th, 2009
11:13 pm

Hey Algo, I always laugh at people like you who didn’t know the meaning of the word “ilk” until you read it twice a week in Cynthia’s columns– it’s one of her favorite words Glad you learned something from her column other than pure, unadulterated hate. You seem to have that trait down.

American worker

September 15th, 2009
11:15 pm

Enter your comments here

algonquin J. Calhoun

September 15th, 2009
11:24 pm

Kevin, are you coming to us from the library? Is that a public computer? Listen Kev, I’m supportive of the minimally intelligent and overly talkative. You ,however, seem to have sub-protozoan intelligence and are undoubtedly a mouth-breather. Thanks for the inanity. Now buzz off douchebag honky bobo!

Hank Johnson is Right!

September 15th, 2009
11:27 pm

As much as it pains me to amit it but Hank Johnson is right. The republican party has decided to align themselves with the dark side of their party which I feel will come back to haunt them because these people are too unpredictable. Oh! by the way Mark Wilson is a racist!


September 15th, 2009
11:31 pm

Cynthia is absolutely 100% correct …. its sad to see Hank Johnson playing the race card. I would have never expected this from Johnson but man was I wrong.


September 15th, 2009
11:39 pm

Rev Al Sharptongue – none of the points you bring up are racists! If being associated/fighting for the South during the Civil Wart makes you a racist PLEASE explain the free blacks that fought for the South! The right to bare arms is part of the Constitution and it has nothing to do with Obamas race but the perception that they have no representation much like the Revolutionary Teabaggers that fought for this countries independence. And if you do look around the amount of black on black crime is the norm followed by black on white and white on black is last by a lot. From now on do some research! Kanye your as big a fool are you an American? Would you prefer to be Un-Africianized? So calling the president makes one racists Dean did that to Bush. Grow up and get the chip off your shoulders until than don’t point at white people for being racists when you won’t let it go away.

Jim M

September 16th, 2009
12:06 am

Its so refreshing to see a person of color think with their mind and not their skin. I guess its going to take an alien invasion for people to refer to each other as human beings. Living in GA I thought Cynthia McKinney was wack but then here comes Hank Johnson. I might move to the 4th district just to vote against this guy

Known Racist!

September 16th, 2009
12:16 am

The Republican party,KKK,Ronald Reagan, George H Bush,George W Bush,Adolf Hitler,Richard Nixon,Rush Limbaugh,Michael Savage,Mel Gibson,Jesse Helms,Justice Clarence Thomas,Sarah Palin,Strom Thurmond,David Duke,Dwight Eisenhower,David Allen Coe,Trent Lott,Glenn Beck,Sean Hannity,Joseph Stalin,Louis Farrakhan,Michelle Malkin,Frederik W De Klerk,JIM CROW(a metaphor)and JOE WILSON welcome to the club!!

Old Timer

September 16th, 2009
12:22 am

Obama and his Democrat friends have done more with their agenda to renew racism than can be imagined. He is a one time president (small p)
just like Jimmy “where am I” Carter was.


September 16th, 2009
12:23 am

There are just as many black racists as white ones in the south. To deny it or to justify white or black/African American racism is complete B.S.

Very few people commenting about race these days are doing so from an idealistic standpoint of “one day there will be no racism”. Most who comment are opportunistic hucksters the arouse sentiment from followers for their own personal profit (financial or otherwise).

Why can’t people of the same race call others racist without backlash and being afraid of reprisal, scorn, or ridicule. Change……. If people really want it (to do away with racism) Needs to come not from Washigton D.C. or from outside, but from inside.

Until that effort is made in ernest, there are no innocent bystanders. We are all culpable. Black White, Asian, Latino whatever.

Btw: I am a White conservative American who does not beleive Washington D.C. has anyones best interest at heart but their own. Politicians cannot be trusted, must be monitored, and held accountable. The party does not matter. Something happens when politicians go on a qwest for relection/power vs. going on a qwest for their constituents with a defined time period to accomplish set goals. Same for racism. People need to go on a qwest to eradicate it out of their lives if it is to be abolished. Othewise why talk about it like it has a chance of going away, because it never will.


September 16th, 2009
12:38 am

The Republican Party is trying to start a race war and we all are in danger..HELTER SKELTER

Carter is a Fool

September 16th, 2009
12:43 am

Is anyone going to call on our former President and perpetual embarrassment to apologize for his grandstanding comments calling Wilson’s rudeness racism.

How stupid. How predictable for this camera hogging irrelevant fool.

Is there really a GOD?

September 16th, 2009
12:54 am

Rev Wiley Drake of the First Southern Baptist Church is praying for President Obama’s murder and he is not the only one. Some white people must worship a different god. Well I guess Satan need followers too.


September 16th, 2009
12:58 am

CT you are such a good writer. I have something for you to write up
re: patriotism—not Republican and not Democrat. It is a humanitarian thing that you will enjoy learning more about.
Please contact me if you would like a real good idea.


September 16th, 2009
2:19 am

You are right again Cynthia. Not only that, but you do not censor your comments like Jay Bookman. You are one of the few real AJC journalists left, keep up the good work.


September 16th, 2009
2:28 am

The Democratic party of George Wallace, Lester Mattox, Robert Byrd, Hugo Black, Ernest Hollings, J. William Fulbright, Albert Gore Sr., (Note The Senior), Sam Ervin, Orval Faubus. Check out these names and check your history.

A whopping 40% of the House Democrats VOTED AGAINST the Civil Rights Act, while 80% of Republicans SUPPORTED it. Republican support in the Senate was even higher. Similar trends occurred with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was supported by 82% of House Republicans and 94% of Senate Republicans. The same Democrat standard bearers took their normal racists stances, this time with Senator Fulbright leading the opposition effort.

It took the hard work of Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen and Republican Whip Thomas Kuchel to pass the Civil Rights Act (Dirksen was presented a civil rights accomplishment award for the year by the head of the NAACP in recognition of his efforts). Upon breaking the Democrat filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Republican Dirksen took to the Senate floor and exclaimed “The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!” (Full text of speech). Sadly, Democrats and revisionist historians have all but forgotten (and intentionally so) that it was Republican Dirksen, not the divided Democrats, who made the Civil Rights Act a reality. Dirksen also broke the Democrat filibuster of the 1957 Civil Rights Act that was signed by Republican President Eisenhower.

Check your history instead of regurgitating what you’ve been spoon feed.