Nativism at NewsBusters

In the eyes of the right-wing blogosphere, Andrew Sullivan is an apostate. Never mind that he shares their dislike of the Clintons, ignore his admiration of Condoleezza Rice, and forget that he was a big fan of staying the course in Iraq. Sullivan committed two cardinal sins for which there can be no absolution -- he enthusiastically promoted the candidacy of President Obama, and, even worse, he wrote mean things about ex-Gov. Sarah Palin.

But Obama and Palin are old news at this point, so Amy Ridenour has taken to the pages of NewsBusters to proffer a new reason to dislike The Atlantic's premier blogger. Well, it's not exactly “new,” as it actually harkens back to the good old days of Know-Nothingism and immigration quotas. In Ridenour's view, Sullivan shouldn't be trusted because he's a “foreigner.”

“Why has a man who is not a citizen of the United States been commenting on U.S. domestic policy for the last couple of decades as if he had a citizen's stake in the nation?” asks Ridenour, who goes on to demand that The Atlantic post a disclaimer on its website that makes clear that Sullivan isn't, you know, one of us... Imagine the nerve of a permanent resident of a country taking an interest in that country's internal affairs.

It's an interesting argument for Ridenour to make, given that a few short months ago she posted this blog entry approvingly quoting National Review's Mark Steyn attacking Obama's proposed health care reform. Steyn is also one of those untrustworthy foreigners, being of Canadian citizenship, who lives in America and comments on domestic policy regularly. Unlike Sullivan, however, Steyn is dead-set on never becoming a citizen of the United States -- he told Canada's National Post in 2006: “I'm a citizen of Canada, never been anything else. I don't believe in dual citizenship.” Sullivan on the other hand has been trying to attain U.S. citizenship for a long time, but his HIV-positive status prevents him from doing so.

So, using Ridenour's own argument, whose commentary should we trust less -- an Englishman who wants to become a citizen but can't, or a Canadian who has no intention of ever becoming a citizen?

Better yet, let's just dismiss Ridenour's argument as the nativist garbage that it is.