As (I think) the only vocal and publicly-enthusiastic Obama supporter here on the VC, I more than share my colleagues' excitement over the events of last night. (I think it's telling -- and a very hopeful sign for an Obama presidency -- that even people (like many of my co-bloggers here) who disagree so strongly with Obama on so many important substantive issues found much to be proud of, and much to be excited about, last night. It was hard -- almost impossible, I would think -- not to be moved as the night wore on; even McCain, in what I thought was a deeply-felt and gracious concession speech, far and away his best moment of the last several months, seemed genuinely and profoundly moved by the significance of the moment, and put that across without cant or rancor; a great moment for him, I thought - I suspect I was not alone in thinking "jeez, where has that John McCain been over the last few months?"
Among other things, I'm hopeful that Obama's victory signals a return to serious political oratory. We haven't had a "great communicator" in the White House for a long, long time -- since Reagan. We haven't even really had a "pretty good communicator," and the last eight years were probably the nadir. It's not the guns at his command that, ultimately, gives a US president power, it's how he leads, and how he uses words to communicate with us is a critical component of that. There were two pieces of political oratory last night -- McCain's concession speech and Obama's victory speech -- and they were both home runs; I can't remember that ever happening before. I also thought it remarkable that both men found the same meaning in the events -- both drew from Obama's victory the idea that people can accomplish incredible things here, in the US, if they put their mind to it and work hard for it. I'm really looking forward to Obama's Inauguration Address - we need inspiration, and the guy is pretty damned inspiring.
And the most interesting little observation I heard last night from commentators: Feb. 2009 marks the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, and we will have a black man from Illinois leading the celebrations. It's like Adams and Jefferson dying on the same day, 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence -- you couldn't make this stuff up.