As ecstatic as I am over Obama winning, he's now being given a Presidency that's going to have to deal with a myriad of problems right off the bat, problems that are going to have to be solved (or at very least improved upon) quickly and successfully. It's a daunting task, to be sure, and while I believe that Obama's pragmatism and intelligence will be able to carry him through the mess that's he inheriting, I can't help but wonder if he feels at all daunted at the enormity of the task he now faces. One thing is for sure - he sure didn't show it last night. Simply an incredible moment in our nation's short history.
Couple election observations:
1) I just finished reading Millennial Makeover, which argued that not only would 2008 be a realigning election (I think the jury is still out on that one), but that it would be shaped by the largest generation to enter the voting population since the baby boomers. This year, I think they got it half right. Young voters (18-29), of which nearly all are from the Millennials, comprised 18% of the electorate and went for Obama 66-32%, the most overwhelmingly democratic group of the populace. Obama tapped into them by speaking to them on their level, through the internet and on cell phones, and by calling them into service. But the democratic tidal wave down ballot that most pundits expected really didn't materialize as House and Senate candidates seem to have generally underperformed expectations and several ballot measures were defeated as well.
But the thing to remember here is that the entire Millennial Generation won't fully reach voting age until 2020. In some ways, Obama would have been better off running in 2012 or 2016 since they'll make up a much larger share of the electorate then. But if Obama has a successful first term and lives up to the very gaudy expectations of this group, I think the democratic tsunami could actually come in 2010 (a redistricting year) and 2012, because there will be such a larger portion of the electorate. No pressure.
2) Obama ran one of the best campaigns I've ever seen - he won Indiana on the ground game alone - and it will be dissected, analyzed and likely copied by everyone who runs four years from now. Check out the NY Times' take on Obama's campaign - great read.
3) And if you want something completely different, check out this hilarious roundtable discussion Red State had yesterday while they were killing time (it used to be on their front page, but I guess they took it down). A sample:
An anniversary has recently passed. On October 25, 3018 ThirdAge, Elrond Half-elven, son of Eärendil of the line of Thingol,bearer of Vilya the great Ring of Power, made a critical decisionfor his people.
Rather than allow the last remaining outposts of the Elves atImladris and Lothlórien continue without disruption from theoutside world, he chose to invest the Elves in a grand global fightto rob Sauron of his power permanently, in the process destroyingthe Rings of Power of his own and Galadriel's. At the Council ofElrond, a Fellowship was constructed, representing Elves, Men,Wizards, Dwarves, and Halflings, all united by a supposed commoncause.
But where are the Elves now? All gone West. Was this great actof foreign policy by Elrond a self-destructive act? Would Elves nothave been better off allowing Sauron to remain, acting as acounterweight to the Men, and preventing Men from being anundisputed hyperpower in Middle-earth?