Well, Hulk has had his say, but I haven't had mine yet, so here goes.
Poppy and I weren't very good election watchers last night. We switched to the news stations every once in a while (mostly we stuck with the BBC, with the idea that they were level headed and wouldn't call anything until it was really so), but neither of us could stand watching the returns for very long. Instead, we put on a rerun of the Texas/Texas Tech game (very exciting game, btw), and I blogged on the laptop, occasionally flipping over to CNN.com. I preferred checking the returns online to checking them on TV - still nerve-wracking, but with none of the awkward live chatter. Poppy gave up and went to bed pretty quickly, and by a little after 11 I was really tired and had decided I should join her. But I couldn't quite bring myself to turn the TV off or actually go to sleep. Around midnight I switched off of the game and onto the news stations, and found that everybody was calling it for Obama. I was excited and happy, and considered waking poppy to tell her. But earlier in the evening, I'd seen CNN.com call New Mexico for Obama before half the results were in, and while McCain still had a commanding lead, so even though everybody was united in calling Obama the next president, I couldn't quite trust them yet - especially after the cruel now-you-have-it-now-you-don't of 2000 and 2004. So I went to sleep. And I had a terrible dream that when I woke in the morning, the reporters had changed all the electoral college numbers, revealing that the data they'd been using before was very preliminary, the new totals were much lower, and Obama wasn't the winner after all.
But when I actually woke, the wonderful, impossible news was still true: Barack Obama had been elected President of the United States. The video of his speech, and of people around the country reacting to the news, was really emotional and affecting. And it turns out Obama didn't just win, he kicked ass. This was the landslide victory I thought the Democrats should have had in 2004. It's kind of corny, but it really does feel like something wonderful and new has happened, that things really are changing for the better. It's astounding to think that only about 40 years ago, there were places in this country where black people had to go to their own schools and drink from their own water fountains and ride on different parts of the bus. And now a black man is President-elect of the United States. That's fantastic.
The reasons he won are many. I think Obama ran the better campaign. He used the internet effectively. He got people registered and got them out to vote in record numbers. Young voters embraced him. And McCain and his people made a lot of bad moves. Choosing Sarah Palin as his vice president pulled in a lot of people, but pushed away a lot of others.
But I think one of the people we should give the most thanks to for this win is George W. Bush. His complete mishandling of everything for a solid eight years ultimately pushed nearly everyone into the arms of the opposing party. So thanks, W! Now, don't let the door hit you on the way out.
UPDATE: I also have some uncharitable things to say to Sarah Palin, along the lines of, "Go back to Alaska, bitch!" But I would never say that, because it would be wrong.
And hey, Hagan beat Dole! That rules. Now the gay-loving, godless liberals will rule the country. Mwa ha ha ha!