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Republicans’ selective memory on executive orders

George Curry | 7/21/2014, 10:04 a.m.
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, arguably the most overrated U.S. president in history, there they go again.
George Curry

It doesn’t get more ridiculous than this. Unable to repeal what they call Obamacare, House Republicans are moving faster than the lips of an auctioneer on crack to sue the president because he is making it easier to comply with what everyone except anti-Obama Republicans recognize as the law of the land.

As Sabastian Payne wrote in The Washington Post, “… For all the accusations of abuse of power, his [Obama] actual uses of his executive authority so far aren’t that far-reaching: Not so much the smack of firm government, more nudging in a certain direction. George W. Bush for example managed to gut the Presidential Records Act (greatly reducing access to presidential records), limit federal funding for stem cell research and sidestep the Geneva Convention on interrogation techniques – all through executive orders, even when he had Congress on his side. Interestingly, all of these orders were later rescinded by Obama.”

Payne continued, “Bill Clinton was no stranger to far-reaching orders either. During his two terms in office, he banned the import of 50+ types of semi-automatic assault weapons and assault pistols … In May 1989, George H. W. Bush temporarily halted the importation of some semi-automatic firearms, following a school shooting in Stockton, Calif. This was made permanent a month later. Ronald Reagan also enacted some significant policy initiatives through executive power. The NSA has said that its controversial collection of e-mail and Internet data, for example, was authorized back in 1981 by Reagan’s executive order.”

What Reagan did was far more dangerous than postponing a health care start date. Yet, there wasn’t even talk of taking him to court.

George E. Curry is the editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service. He is a keynote speaker, moderator and media coach. Curry can be reached through http://www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at http://www.twitter.com/currygeorge and George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook.