But bipartisanship requires a certain spirit of compromise. The Bush administration had it, the Obama administration doesn't. In Slate, John Dickerson asks how an administration that stirs up the level of polarization Obama does is going to pass anything, even if the GOP leadership wants it passed?
How does immigration reform pass after a bloody fight over a government shutdown? The White House strategy for the fall relies on back-to-back capitulations from conservative Republicans on the core issues of taxes and spending and immigration. That's bad news for supporters of comprehensive immigration reform. Their issue is going to come up after a deal is reached on the budget, which means passage of comprehensive reform would require the second huge cave by Republican leaders. That’s more spelunking than the system can tolerate.
In No Mood for Compromise
How this fall’s budget fights could spell doom for comprehensive immigration reform. By , July 29, 2013, at 2:13 PM
Dickerson gives examples of Obama, the non-peacemaker:
When you're characterizing the people most likely to work with you as moral cowards, you're not starting negotiations in a happy place. Better, I suppose, than the other two categories of Republican the president outlined: political hacks and the heartless who enjoy inequality, pain, and uncertainty.
You could see the president pressing this advantage in his speech last week. Though he said he was willing to work with Republicans on solving the budget impasse, it was an even more meaningless overture than usual because in the very next sentence this is how he characterized Republicans: "There are Republicans in Congress right now who privately agree with me on a lot of the ideas I'll be proposing. I know because they've said so. But they worry they'll face swift political retaliation for cooperating with me. Now, there are others who will dismiss every idea I put forward either because they're playing to their most strident supporters or, in some cases, because sincerely they have a fundamentally different vision for America—one that says inequality is both inevitable and just; one that says an unfettered free market without any restraints inevitably produces the best outcomes, regardless of the pain and uncertainty imposed on ordinary families.”
In addition to the political animosity President Obama has been stirring up, there's also the ethnic animosity he's been fostering over the Zimmerman case—the kind of thing that made Pat Buchanan ask: "why, when the fires of anger over the Zimmerman verdict were dying down, did he go into that pressroom and stir them up?"
So yes, Obama is not good at this bipartisan stuff, and that may wind up dooming his amnesty play.