Your morning jolt: Cut Paul Broun some slack, says Athens newspaper

The Athens Banner-Herald and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican from the same city, might often be mistaken for blood enemies.

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

More often than not, one can often be seen or heard hyperventilating about the other. But not this weekend.

The Banner-Herald editoriaialists decided that Broun ought to be cut some slack over his handling of a town hall meeting last week, when an elderly constituent opened proceedings by asking “Who’s going to shoot Obama?”

Broun issued a strong rebuke of the question three days letter. At the meeting, the congressman said he was stunned by the comment and simply moved on as quickly as possible.

From the newspaper:

… Broun came in for his share of criticism on this newspaper’s website and elsewhere from people who suggested he should have forcefully rejected the man’s question as inappropriate. But, inappropriate as it was, the question did not come out of Broun’s mouth, and it seems a bit unfair to, in effect, hold him fully responsible for it.

Frankly, it’s easy to understand how, in a public forum, a question as provocative as wondering who might shoot the president of the United States might catch someone – yes, even a politician, whose work includes frequent appearances like Broun’s town hall – completely off guard.

Those who were eager to criticize the congressman for the way he handled the question – again, words that he did not utter – would do well to remember that they had the luxury of reflecting on the reported circumstances before suggesting how they thought they might have reacted, and how Broun should have reacted.

Again, there have been plenty of opportunities for concern, if not outrage, regarding many of Broun’s statements. But in this instance, the congressman deserves a break.

***
Over the weekend, my AJC colleague Alan Judd described the clash between Jimmye Hawkins, the principal of Atlanta’s Scott Elementary School and her boss, Tamara Cotman in the aftermath of the school system’s cheating scandal:

Hawkins endured continual criticism from Cotman, she says, and was among the principals Cotman ordered to write “Go to hell” notes to state investigators. After a lawyer for the school district questioned Hawkins about the matter, Cotman removed her from Scott.

By mid-February, Hawkins had been interrogated, demoted, accused of being a whistle-blower, described in court papers as a confidential informant (“CI 11-022”) and, finally, reinstated as interim principal. What happened to her, state investigators say, is a prime example of a pattern of retaliation and retribution against employees who report wrongdoing in Atlanta’s school system.

This morning, state Rep. Ralph Long, D-Atlanta, has posted on his Facebook page a letter from Monica Hooker, a former teacher at Benjamin S. Carson Prepatory School, who said the “go to hell” sentiment from Cotman was comparatively mild. Hooker says she kept a journal:

”November 18th, was far worse than we expected. In the course of Ms. Cotman meeting with Mr. Green the day before, she insisted that he relay a message to the staff. She wanted us to know her disdain for the school and staff and sent us the message –“I wished I had some C4 to blow the school up and start all over with new people”.

“Thoughts of irritation, anger, perplexity, and distress were expressed by the staff. I decided enough was enough. I could survive the other unethical maneuvers of Ms. Cotman, but this was too much in the already tainted and toxic working environment.

“I attempted several times the rest of the school year to report Ms. Cotman’s actions to central office personnel but to no avail. I was told to leave the matter alone. Ms. Cotman was informed of my attempts and increased her retaliatory actions against me. “

***
At a gathering of the Tea Party Patriots in Phoenix, Ariz., Herman Cain won the in-person presidential straw poll on Saturday with 22 percent of the vote. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, were next, followed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 10 percent.

Barack Obama won four votes, or almost .2 percent.

Cain, Pawlenty and Paul were all speakers at the weekend event. Paul won an Internet poll hosted by the Tea Party Patriots.

***
This morning, Politifact examines the statement by state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, that illegal immigrant students are taking classroom seats away from legal residents in university settings:

Strictly speaking, Balfour’s initial statement is correct. If a single illegal immigrant snags a spot in a popular course that fills up, legal residents can miss out.

However, Balfour’s statement does not acknowledge the fundamental problem, which is tight resources. Given the small number of “undocumented” students, it’s safe to say that most of the time, legal residents are taking the slots away from one another.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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60 comments Add your comment

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
9:25 am

I’m sure if Paul Broun had been asked “when is somebody going to shoot you?” he wouldn’t have experienced this unfortunate lapse into confusion. He would have screamed for security right then, on the spot.

Tamara Cotman is a thug, and should be in jail, not whining on TV about how she’s so terribly scapegoated.

Tom

February 28th, 2011
9:40 am

Nothing about the Facebook page called “Americans Against Bobby Franklin”? Up to over 1,400 “likes”.

big hair

February 28th, 2011
9:42 am

Although it is true that Broun should be cut some slack for the unexpected question, I would remind him that the Bible instructs us that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7.)

His father was a statesman … this nut fell far, far from the tree.

catlady

February 28th, 2011
9:48 am

3 days was the problem. Three Days!

bart

February 28th, 2011
9:48 am

Broun is a nut and an embarassment. Why should anybody “cut him some slack?” He initially laughed at the question. Maybe the people who keep voting for this crazy man will finally begin to see that he is so far out of the mainstream that he is actually hurting their district rather than helping it.

Tom

February 28th, 2011
9:56 am

big hair

February 28th, 2011
9:57 am

Bart @ 9:48 … the irony of this situation is that the liberal folks in Athens/Clarke put this guy in office by choosing the “lesser of the evils.” They are kicking themselves now.

It all goes back to the historical struggle for power between Athens and Augusta. Perhaps the addition of another US Representative will solve some of this. I doubt it though; the Republicans will probably not give Athens/Clarke its own congressperson.

Road Scholar

February 28th, 2011
10:11 am

Aquagirl: Good morning! Broun wouldn’t have screamed. He would be on the floor, curled into the fetal position, whimpering please don’t shoot!

What part of leadership does Broun examplify? A true leader addresses the issue immediately!

Michael

February 28th, 2011
10:43 am

I wonder if anyone else at the Town Hall meeting bum rushed the questioner? Were none of the Athens high and mighty liberals at the Congressman’s Town Hall meeting or are they just Monday morning quarterbacks who whine in the blogosphere?

As for Balfour, didn’t he promise us he would not run for re-election?

IonOtter

February 28th, 2011
10:55 am

Why wasn’t that elderly man arrested on the spot and questioned by the Secret Service? It’s a bit late to be coming back after 3 days of media blitz to issue an apology, after all. I’ll tell you what, though? The Secret Service are talking to that old man NOW. As well as a lot of other people who were in that room, INCLUDING the state troopers and security guards.

Last Man Standing

February 28th, 2011
11:32 am

bart:

“He initially laughed at the question”

I don’t believe that he laughed and have read nothing stating so. In fact, someone who was there has posted that he did NOT laugh. Broun is as “a man down” and he has found no shortage of people here to kick him. At least get it factual.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

February 28th, 2011
11:33 am

Te elderly man wasn’t arrested because they found no threat there.. they investigated and found no reason to move forward..gasp..whitey wins again

BTW, it’s perfectly legal to HATE the president..I know that bothers so many of you leftists , who consider him to be Jesus F’ing Mohammed Von Santa Clause und Karlmarx ..

A I said in a previous blog , I recall the left having NO PROBLEM with a screenplay and a MOVIE about the assassination of president Bush, noooo..so you can all go to H with the indignation now.

td

February 28th, 2011
11:33 am

Why are all you libs getting your pink panties in a wad this morning. This old mans statement is no worse than the union signs in Wisconsin or the threats against GWB. This is also nothing new because we have had threats against our leaders since before the founding of our country. This is a freedom of speech issue and it is up to the secret service to determine if it was an idle threat or the old man needs to be investigated or questioned further. Get over your lame selves and lets get to the bigger threats the country has to deal with, like the illegal alien problem or the massive deficit we have in this country.

Keep doing this GOP

February 28th, 2011
11:38 am

I keep asking people if the voted for Broun. If they said yes, i asked them why? Only two people said they liked his stand on the issues, they rest said ” I dont know”.

I hope Mr. Edwards runs again, we need a fresh face and new blood in Washington. Someone who will get stuff done instead on wondering where the President was born, etc., etc.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

February 28th, 2011
11:41 am

In fact I would think the people the SS worries about most are the ones who don’t stand up in a town hall meeting and make a joke..the ones who fly behind the radar and probably cant even speak english..you know, a palestinian waiter or something..They should probably keep their eyes on Biden too(remember him? where the F did he go..hasn’t been seen in about 3 months..) Right about now, Biden is realizing, “I gave up a senate seat to play second fiddle to this idiot?”.

Keep doing this GOP

February 28th, 2011
11:42 am

I recall the left having NO PROBLEM with a screenplay and a MOVIE about the assassination of president Bush,

I had a very bad problem with it. I disagreed with his policies big time and the war in Iraq, but it wasnt worth taking a life nor making a movie about it.

DannyX

February 28th, 2011
11:44 am

“Don’t taze me bro”

We need security personell armed with tazers ready to strike at a moments notice at these radical right wing events. Its getting totally out of control.

Brian

February 28th, 2011
11:45 am

I would like someone to identify the “elderly constituent”. We should find out who that guy is hanging around with, and vilify him!

Three days indeed!– as to the Banner-Herald editorialists. Gentlemen, no slack should be given to Broun. This isn’t Georgia circa 1950! A moral, courageous soul would have called out to the room and to the loose talker:

“This is America not Egypt, Libya or Afghanistan. Stupid talk like yours belongs somewhere else, not in this country. And by the way it’s illegal.”

Broun should have directed the police to take the “elderly constituent’s” name and had him escorted from the premises!

You would think that after the Giffords massacre, this sort of stuff would have stopped. Well it’s not stopping because politicians like Broun let it slide.

td

February 28th, 2011
11:51 am

Brian

February 28th, 2011
11:45 am

How about those signs in Wisconsin showing the Governor in the cross-hairs? Should this be banned too and should the people be deported? Political correctness run a muck.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

February 28th, 2011
11:53 am

Way to go Herman Cain for winning the TPP straw poll!! I think at the very least you are going to be the VP candidate..and force the rest of the primary candidates to the right and to the fair tax!

Casablanca

February 28th, 2011
11:53 am

“Broun issued a strong rebuke of the question three days letter (sic)”

Yep the three days is the kicker. Gotta wonder whether Paul woulda said anything at all had the media not picked up the story.

Last Man Standing

February 28th, 2011
12:03 pm

TrishaDishaWarEagle:

Biden is realizing, “I gave up a senate seat to play second fiddle to this idiot?”.

That is the beauty of Obama’s choice of Biden: Biden is largely unintelligent and grossly unaware of nearly everything.

bart

February 28th, 2011
12:30 pm

Last Man, yes, indeed, it was reported that he laughed. It was in the newspapers as well as on TV. Now, maybe it was untrue, but it WAS reported. I read and heard it myself.

RightTurnClyde

February 28th, 2011
12:44 pm

There’s too much talk of gratuitous violence. I would have thought after Congresswoman Giffords that common sense would prevail in public (and private) dialog. The same is true for foul mouth in public. I wish there were the same shock at “F” words as there is at “N” words, especially when women use them. We all know what they mean, but together with violence words it is reprehensible to hear them in every paragraph. How, then, can you expect children not to regard that kind of thinking as normal? .

Denny

February 28th, 2011
12:51 pm

If Paul Broun showed any common sense whatever he might deserve a little consideration but i’m ashamed for him ro represent me.

RGB

February 28th, 2011
12:55 pm

Liberals apply standards to conservatives that they would never consider for themselves.

If libs had to apologize for all the nutty things their constituents say every single day, they’d be apologizing 24 X 7 X 365–which, when you think about it, wouldn’t be a bad thing since that would leave them little time to spend, borrow, tax, shut down domestic oil production, and surrender to emerging nuclearized countries.

Marlboro Man

February 28th, 2011
12:55 pm

Nothing wrong with asking the question, no threats were made just polically incorrect and rude. That being said, Broun is an idiot of a rep.

Brian

February 28th, 2011
1:02 pm

Oh but td– the crosshairs are just a play on the Palin thing right?

People don’t get deported or banned for fanning hate speach in America because it is protected speech. What isn’t protected is a publicly made threat, joke or otherwise, against the President of the US. The act is illegal and not protected.

Scott Walker wants to destroy the unions in Wisconsin by taking away collective bargaining rights, which in effect renders a union obsolete.

It would be like Neal telling any group of people, that elects a spokesperson to negotiate on its behalf, they that spokeperson cannot speak, negotiate or render anything on the groups behalf.

What happened to freedom of assembly td?

Political Correctness?! No td just an absence of common sense.

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
1:04 pm

Denny, don’t feel bad—Jihad Cindy McKinney finally got the boot, so there’s hope.

Of course the cop-slapping Cindy found it hard to be re-elected after the her Democratic colleagues got the h3ll away from her. Without support from the party, it’s an uphill battle to keep your congressional seat, even if you have a gerrymandered district tailor made to endorse your lunacy.

The Republicans, on the other hand, embrace their wackos, birthers, conspiracy nuts, and general all around a-holes. It’s not considered a minus to the party. It’s a plus. A requirement, really.

Voice of Reason

February 28th, 2011
1:04 pm

Bart – You obviously believe everything you read in the newspaper or on television. Enough said.

Brian – You typify the liberal mouths that have made this an “issue”. The man is and has been questioned and will be dealt with accordingly I would presume. Unless of course, he is executed for being a “racist” instead of a disgruntled citizen against Muslims and “change”.

Broun may not be the best in the House populous, but he is a long way from the worst. In reality, everyone of them needs to go. THAT is the real problem!!

Voice of Reason

February 28th, 2011
1:07 pm

Brian – There you go again. Reading it wrong or making your interpretation. The man did not make a threat as I read it, he asked a question.

Hollis

February 28th, 2011
1:07 pm

td

February 28th, 2011
1:23 pm

Brian

February 28th, 2011
1:02 pm

I have no problem with what the unions are doing in Wisconsin and personally have no problems with the signs. This is freedom of speech. I also have no problems with what the old man said, again this is freedom of speech. What he said was not illegal because people have a much more protected speech against elected officials than they do against other citizens (See the numerous supreme court cases on the issue).

I only brought up the protesters because of the fact that you libs want to have a double standard. Some peoples speech is important and protected because of the cause and some is not. I think all speech is protected and as much as I may not like it (burning flags), I will stand up and put my life on the line to protect your right to say it.

We either have freedom or we do not have it. You can not pick and choose.

double

February 28th, 2011
1:25 pm

lost man it’s obvious how you feel about you.To call Obama an idiot proves it more.

td

February 28th, 2011
1:31 pm

double

February 28th, 2011
1:25 pm
lost man it’s obvious how you feel about you.To call Obama an idiot proves it more

I am sure you think the same thing about GWB and our current Governor? Another lame double standard response.

Mike

February 28th, 2011
1:37 pm

I still don’t see what the problem is with the old fool. That attitude is typical of the folks that attend those meetings and make up the surrounding area. They think it is with their rights to threaten people and the President as well. Why in the state of Georgia elected people are more concerned about their rights to carry guns than they are about educating the children of this state. Cut the hours for pre-school but fight to carry guns into a church or the airport.

Wendy Breeze

February 28th, 2011
1:41 pm

After reading the various blogs on the AJC, I can truthfully say, that you’d HAVE to be an idiot to even consider public service. Totally thankless, no appreciation, and no matter how hard you try, you’re ALWAYS wrong.

no mo

February 28th, 2011
1:43 pm

how does the racist cotman keep her job? she should be indicted for obstruction and fired for incompetence and threats. No wonder the atlanta schools are so messed up.

Alabama Communist

February 28th, 2011
1:49 pm

lol…amazing! Now the establishment media wants to waterboard Paul because he voted against the Patriot Act……….

Aquagirl

February 28th, 2011
1:57 pm

Yes, Wendy, it’s a thankless task when idiots act like high schoolers by tweeting during your State of the Union address, claim you’re trying to establish a marxist dictatorship, or laugh off threats of your assassination. But Obama has handled it with considerable grace. You should write him a nice note. It’s the least you can do.

RGB

February 28th, 2011
2:22 pm

Obama is establishing a soft tyranny.

Brian

February 28th, 2011
2:22 pm

Voice of Reason?– Hah!

Try changing your name to “Voice of Treason.”

Gunny

February 28th, 2011
2:32 pm

Paul Broun wasnt the lesser of the 2 evils. he does alot of good work helping Veterans and others. Paul got 62% of the vote which tells me he is doing a good job for his people . there are alot of smart people in athens, and i dont mean the liberal asses going to UGA or their professors, thats why Paul is in office . He has the values we want from the 50’s and 60’s , not this crap going on in DC now

bart

February 28th, 2011
2:50 pm

Voice of Reason, you obviously did not understand what I posted. I said I did not know if it were true, just that it was reported. Please read more carefully. Thanks.

Brian

February 28th, 2011
2:51 pm

td– Mr. Broun’s constituent does not get say whatever he wants: See the legal code below.

18 USC 871, makes it a Federal crime or offense for anyone to willfully make a true threat to injure or kill the President of the United States.

JLD

February 28th, 2011
2:57 pm

No slack…..I’m tired of these creeps speaking their minds and then wanting to take it back. It’s out there now and they spoke their mind. They feel the way they feel and ONLY want to take it back to save their a-s and job. Kick the bum out.

Wendy Breeze

February 28th, 2011
3:00 pm

I will take that into consideration Aquagirl, as soon as you write George Bush an apology letter stating the same.

I know, it’s different when Democrats do it.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2009/09/10/flashback_democrats_boo_bush_at_2005_state_of_the_union.html

findog

February 28th, 2011
3:14 pm

Brian,
The operative word would be “true” and that old codger just wanted some attention
No “true” threat

John

February 28th, 2011
3:15 pm

Paul Broun’s meetings are nothing more than Klan gatherings. He caters to the lowest common demoninators of moral & the educated society.