Like many people around the world, I watched the speeches by both Jon McCain and Barack Obama. I was impressed by both, for different reasons. McCain's speech was a true concession and it crystallized, for me, the most important thing about John McCain - that he is a honorable man with good intentions and understands the damage that divisivness can cause. (amusing game to waste time - go back and watch his speech again, and if you find one non-white person, I will buy you lunch)
Obama's speech was not celebratory at all, rather very serious with two messages. One, there is a lot of hard work to be done, and two, a group of people who believe in something can make it happen. (amusing game #2 - every time you seen Jesse Jackson crying, take a drink)
If this election had been held in mid-August I probably would have voted for John McCain, and I said as much. There are two reasons why I didn't and voted for Barack Obama instead.
One, Supreme Court Justices. The court skews slightly to the right already, and its important for the Supreme Court to be as balanced as possible in my opinion. I couldn't count on John McCain to recognize this and make it happen, especially in light of the second reason.
Two, McCain made a tactical error in moving his position more to the right after establishing a firm foothold near the middle. The problem here is some of the GOP base are Conservative Christrian fanatics (or radicals, take your pick), have a lot of money and wield a lot of influence in the GOP. Someone got in McCain's ear and told him he needed to move to the right, pick a far-right running mate and count on the far-right to bring this thing home. Remember that a lot of conservatives were very critical of McCain during the primaries and a lot of people were speculating that the conservatives would just stay home on election day. He wasn't polling well with the far right and someone convinced him to go after them. It was a gamble and it failed. IMHO, if McCain had stayed near the middle, picking a Tom Ridge for example (someone who could've helped in Pennslyvania) he might have made this closer. If he had been a real maverick and picked Joe Leiberman, this *might* have gone the other way. Palin brought nothing to the table except nice clothes and the attack dog attitude, and helped him win precisely zero states. Colin Powell said it perfectly - everything that has transpired since the conventions was a sort of final exam, and Obama did a better job on that exam. I believe McCain lost two moderate votes for every conservative vote he picked up, and I believe that was the difference.
The Republican party in general is now deep in the midst of an identity crisis. You have one faction who wants to move the party FURTHER right (if that's possible) and another who believe the party needs to be more open and more centrist.
One last thing for now. If you REALLY think Obama getting elected is the onset Socialism, you truly don't understand government. True Socialism advocates state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian (which is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights) society. Our government - almost any form of government for that matter - engages in selective forms of socialism. As long as there are taxes, as long as we have public schools, libraries, highways, police, military, courts, medical research, etc, we will have some form of socialism (in this case, the collection and selective redistribution of wealth for the purpose of providing services to and for the betterment of our society). Having "Joe the Plumber" call something socialist doesn't make it it. Of course, I suppose Joe T. Plumber could have advanced degrees in Political Science and Economics - but I doubt it.
Personally, I would do away with income tax altogether, and institute a National Sales Tax. Honestly, if you make $80,000 and keep $50,000 to spend on your needs, wouldn't you rather keep $80,000 and pay and extra 15% sales tax? Tell me how that doesn't work out better for everyone. Please.
The GOP spent the last 6 months trying to hang a tag on Obama - anti-american, muslim, radical, socialist - in an effort to scare people into drinking the McCainorade and voting AGAINST Obama as much as for John McCain. It's fascinating to me how they kept trying to drag the election down to a negative campaign and the Democrats just wouldn't bite and ran a campaign based on their message.
Hey, here's a tag the GOP can now hang on Obama: President-Elect.