Of course one of the main reasons President Obama would do this is because its exactly what he promised Speaker Boehner he would do back in April if the House failed to pass immigration reform. The President is a man of his word.
But I think what trips up folks like Nyhan is the narrative that has developed about how President Obama is cautious and restrained. It clouds their judgement. Its true that the President is thoughtful and tends to avoid being reactive. But that doesn't make him risk averse. One only has to look at a few examples to disabuse that notion.
For example, there was the time he went against the advice of most of his National Security Team and sent a Seal Team into the compound at Abbattobad to get Osama bin Laden. Or the time he went against the advice of most of his staff to continue to work on getting comprehensive health care reform after Scott Brown was elected to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. Or that wonderful moment in 2010 when he went to the House Republican Caucus meeting to talk directly to his opponents. But perhaps my favorite was the time he gave the commencement address at Notre Dame after fierce protests from some students over his position on stem cell research and abortion...and focused his remarks on stem cell research and abortion.
Those are all examples of President Obama following the Aikido Way:
1] We must maintain our own balance while taking theirsAs Republicans ramp up their accusations of dictatorial tyranny and fear-mongering about immigrants, it should surprise no one that the President would react fearlessly and enter into the very center of that conflict.
2] We must react fearlessly
3] We must enter into the very center of the conflict
4] We must understand our opponent's intentions in order to achieve resolution