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Andrew Sullivan's Bust: The Real Issue

It seems that Andrew Sullivan’s application for US citizenship hangs in the balance -- but not really, and that is the issue. Gawker and other sites report that this past summer, blogger and columnist Sullivan was arrested on national seashore in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for illegal possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor that would incur a $125 for Sullivan, if he was found guilty. No big deal -- it happens a lot in that area of our country.

The only stumbling block is Sullivan’s pending U.S. citizenship, which might have been adversely affected should he have been brought to court. Enter the office of the U.S. Attorney. The local court was ordered to drop the charges, so that Sullivan would be able to gain his citizenship without a problem. It was clearly special treatment afforded the illustrious pundit. Robert Collings, the magistrate who would have heard the case, was stunned.

One court report noted: “Collings says he expressed his concern that ‘a dismissal would result in persons in similar situations being treated unequally before the law. … persons charged with the same offense on the Cape Cod National Seashore were routinely given violation notices, and if they did not agree to [pay the fine] were prosecuted by the United States Attorney. … [T]here was no apparent reason for treating Mr. Sullivan differently from other persons charged with the same offense.’” You can read the entire court comment by Collings here .

The question, then is simple: Why did Andrew Sullivan get special treatment from the U.S. Attorney? As the Collings statement makes clear, other similar offenders have regularly been hauled before the court, and forced to pay the fine if found guilty.  In Sullivan’s case, there are other far more important implications.

Andrew Sullivan has moved from the stance of a fierce conservative to that of a liberal supporter of the Obama administration. When Obama met after his election with liberal journalists, Sullivan was part of their group---not among those of the conservative journalists who met the President-elect.  He regularly blasts conservatives, especially those having anything to do with the Bush administration, and stands among the group constantly demanding fierce punishment for Cheney and company for authorizing torture of Gitmo detainees.

Now, more than ever, it appears that the United States Attorney is repaying a debt to Sullivan for his support to the administration. Why else would he be singled out for exclusive treatment? And doesn’t it also mean that Sullivan now will be more careful than ever to continue giving the administration his approval, at least until after he becomes a citizen? A debt paid leads to a debt owed.