Michael Barone
Skitter, scamper, scuttle. That seems to be the mode of the Obama administration of late.

Skitter away from your red line in Syria. Scamper off to a meeting you'd previously nixed with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Scuttle as much as the Constitution as you can, at least until you get called on it by 9-0 majorities in the Supreme Court, as the justices did on recess appointments, warrantless cellphone searches and $75,000 a day fines for disturbing supposed wetlands.

It's not a very effective way to make public policy, and it tends to put you in an embarrassing public posture. But that's what happens when you start off believing you know all you need to know and that the world is endlessly enchanted with you.

Skittering away from the consequences of your economic and big government policies takes the form, often, of averring that you're going to pivot to the economy.

But that pivot never seems to get very far. Last winter, Barack Obama was talking a lot about income inequality.

Something must be done about it, he said. But the specific policies he advanced would do pathetically little to change things.

Raising the minimum wage always scores well in polls, but most of the gains go to households well above the poverty line. And it leaves some people with minimal or entry-level skills out of a job.

So now Obama has apparently stopped talking about what he used to call "a fundamental threat to the American dream." Perhaps he's noticed that while Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," advocating 80 percent income taxes on high earners, has been a big seller that, to judge from Amazon Kindle highlighting, has held the attention of few readers.

Scampering seems to the mode of choice in addressing menacing developments in the Middle East.

Obama used to proclaim his total withdrawal of troops from Iraq a great success. But now that al-Qaida-linked terrorists have been capturing Iraqi cities and proclaiming a caliphate, he is sending several hundred troops back there.

Antiwar activists with long memories will remember that this is how things started off in Vietnam. Supporters of military action in Iraq will argue that this is too little too late, and that Obama should have pushed through a status of forces agreement keeping more troops in Iraq back in 2011.

Scampering has also been his response to the flood of illegal underage migrants from Central America coming across the border into Texas. This seems to be a response to the president's proclamation that he wouldn't enforce immigration laws against many of those brought here illegally as children.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM