In Johnson's mind, he has not really changed but merely shifted his focus. Where once he was preoccupied with national security, staking out a hawkish, pro-military position, he now spends more time focusing on his liberal social views, and gripes with conservatives who disagree. "I like to think," he told me this week, "I am pretty independent of [the] political winds."
But not totally immune. As I talked to Johnson in his office, an alert flashed on one of his two giant computer monitors. An angry screed targeting him on another website concluded: "I think a visit to Mr. Johnson's home might be warranted. Anybody got his address?"
Such veiled threats are at least one reason why Johnson, 56, relocated not long ago. He remains in the Los Angeles area, but now is in a gated community.
The man who once decried vitriol spread on liberal websites now says: "The kinds of hate mail and the kinds of attacks I am getting from the right wing are way beyond anything I got when I was criticizing the left or even radical Islam."
Threats from the wingnuts is nothing new and it’s good to expose them to the general public. Hopefully one day the owner of the sites that provoke this outrage will start taking responsibility and denouncing such attacks.