(CNSNews.com) - Liberal supporters of President Obama's executive amnesty claim that Obama is only doing what the conservative Ronald Reagan once did.
"Reagan never did this," an indignant Rush Limbaugh told his listeners on Wednesday.
"If Reagan did this, then why did Obama once say he didn't have the power to do this?" Limbaugh asked. (President Obama on numerous occasions has said he does not have the power to change immigration law without Congress. "I'm not the emperor of the United States," he told Telemundo last year.)
"Well, why didn't he say, 'Wait a minute, yes, I can. I can be a dictator 'cause Ronald Reagan was, everybody knows.' Why didn't he cite Reagan back then?" Limbaugh asked on Wednesday. "Why didn't he cite Reagan last week, last year? Why let this controversy gin up? If Reagan did it, why not say it at the outset and then shut up everybody?"
Limbaugh described himself as "almost speechless" as he prepared to explain to his audience "just how big the Left is distorting this."
Far from issuing an executive order, Reagan in 1986 signed legislation passed by Congress -- the Simpson-Mazzoli Act.
"Congress debated and passed a law to grant amnesty to three million illegal immigrants, and Reagan signed it. They are saying that's exactly what Obama's going to do. They are claiming that Reagan signing legislation, thereby making it legal, is the same thing as an Obama executive order. It's breathtaking what they're trying to say here.
"Reagan had a statute behind him," Limbaugh continued. "The statute was called Simpson-Mazzoli. The very law that Reagan had signed was signed after it was passed by Congress. What Obama is about to do is write a law, or rewrite a statue all by himself."
Limbaugh said Obama's executive amnesty is "totally different," because "the president cannot write law. The president can't make it up. ...The Constitution does not say, 'In case the Congress refuses to cooperate with the president, the president may, in that case, create his own law.' It doesn't say that. And Obama knows it doesn't say that because he's been out there on TV in previous years telling angry Hispanics that he's not a dictator -- ahem -- that he's not an emperor -- ahem -- and he can't do it. And that's been his excuse all along. He doesn't have the power to do it.
"Now all of a sudden he does. And along comes the dictate from the White House to inform the media, 'Hey, it's no different than what Reagan did.' So there are two things here -- the blatant lie in equating an executive order with signing legislation, and then having to cite Reagan to validate something a Marxist -- ahem -- a Democrat president is doing."
When President Obama suspends deportations and them imposes his own conditions on those suspensions by issuing work permits and Social Security numbers, ":he's rewriting the law."
Limbaugh said "it really offends me greatly" to see liberals "tarnish Reagan this way, because that's what this is.
"Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan in his dreams, and the idea that he is Ronald Reagan and is doing nothing different than Reagan did is as offensive as it can be to me. Because it's distorting Reagan. It is impugning Reagan."
Writing in The Atlantic on Nov. 18, David Frum also said there are "huge differences" between Obama's executive amnesty and the actions of Reagan did in 1986 and George H.W. Bush in 1990.
He gives the following four reasons:
1. "Reagan and Bush acted in conjunction with Congress and in furtherance of a congressional purpose, while Obama's executive order would not further a congressional purpose." In fact, Obama's order "is intended to overpower and overmaster a recalcitrant Congress," Frum said.
2. Reagan and Bush legalized far fewer people than Obama apparently plans to do. Obama's two rounds of amnesty -- first the young "Dreamers" and now their parents -- could affect as many as 5 million people, Frum wrote, and thus "he would -- acting on his own authority and in direct contravention of the wishes of Congress -- have granted residency and work rights to more than double the number of people" who received amnesty under the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli Act.
3. "The Reagan-Bush examples are not positive ones." Frum says the 1986 amnesty did not work as promised, as illegal immigration actually increased in the years after the amnesty. "Let's not repeat their mistake," he wrote.
4. "The invocation of the Reagan and Bush cases exemplifies the bad tendency of political discussion to degenerate into an exchange of scripted talking points. 'Oh yeah? Well, this guy you liked also did this thing you don’t like!' Is that really supposed to convince anybody?" Frum asks. "What we have here is not a validation of the correctness of President Obama’s action. It’s...an effort to curtail argument rather than enlighten it."