Last Tuesday, more than 64 million Americans voted for a black guy with a strange name to be their next president. When he won, the world's view of our country instantly changed, and so did the way we view ourselves.
President Barack Obama?
Two years ago, if you'd made such a prediction in any barroom, bowling alley or beauty parlor, the response would have been laughter or puzzled stares.
Yet, against all odds, here we are. The scene in Chicago's Grant Park the other night was unlike any election celebration in memory - an ocean of exuberant young and old faces; white, black, Asian, Indian, Hispanic, native American.
Only the coldest of souls could have watched and not been moved.
Millions of words will be written about how it happened, but one of the keys to Obama's victory is obvious. He wouldn't have won so decisively if not for the outrageous mistakes and excesses of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, whose mess will take a long, long time to mop up.
Yet it's naive to believe that anybody could have beaten a Republican this year. For Democratic candidates, there's no such thing as a slam dunk. Given half a chance, they can blow any election.
Everyone remembers what happened in Florida in 2000, but let's not forget that Al Gore couldn't even win his home state of Tennessee. Four years later, John Kerry, a true combat hero, responded like a wimp when his war record was falsely maligned by the Swift Boaters. His campaign never recovered.
This year, Obama was as charismatic as Gore was dull, and as forceful as Kerry was tentative.
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