Michael Barone‘s latest column discusses President Obama’s approach to negotiations with his Republican adversaries.

Obama supporters like to portray Republican attempts to negotiate as hostage-taking or extortion. But those are violent crimes. Negotiations — discussions attempting to reach agreement among those who differ — are peaceful acts.

What we do know, from Bob Woodward’s book The Price of Politics, is that Obama is not very good at negotiating. He apparently can’t stomach listening to views he does not share.

Perhaps that is to be expected of one who has chosen all his adult life to live in university communities and who made his way upward in the one-party politics of Chicago. Thus, on the fiscal cliff, he left the unpleasant business of listening to others’ views and reaching agreement to Joe Biden.