By David Boaz
David Boaz is the Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute and author of 'Libertarianism: A Primer and The Politics of Freedom'.
Happy anniversary, Mr. President. Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts is a rude ending to a year marked by falling poll ratings and growing opposition to his signature policy initiatives.
President Obama took office on a wave of good feeling. The country was glad to be rid of George W. Bush and appreciated Obama's promise to move beyond old battles. But Obama and his team overinterpreted their victory. A desire for change didn't translate into support for a sweeping statist agenda. Beginning with his February 24 speech to Congress, Obama began to overreach.
His administration sought to use the financial crisis to implement an agenda that wouldn't have been plausible in calmer times. "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste" was Rahm Emanuel’s keynote. Robert Higgs in Crisis and Leviathan and Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine had examined how crises often lead to dramatic changes in policy, but never before had senior officials declared the shock doctrine as their strategy.