Obama is widely perceived to be an extraordinary statesman and intellectual who has the ability to develop a deep understanding of challenging policy issues, and leverage those understandings to move the country in a new direction on a number of different fronts. I don't mean to disparage Palin but she does not carry that kind of weight.
Being well spoken and intellectual does not a leader of the free world make. Obama is every bit of rhetoric that any other senior politician is, but with more marketing savvy. The ONLY reason why both a black male and a female were in contention for opposing the party of rule for the last 8 years is because things are SO BAD that ANYTHING is better than what we've had. It's the same reason why John Kerry got the nomination for 2004 and almost got 51% of the vote. When you're starving, a shit sandwich sounds awfully tasty.
Everyone at the DNC convinced themselves that "change is in the air" because they kept telling themselves that "change is in the air." It's bullshit. There won't be partisan compromise or joint initiative to getting things done because that doesn't sell news papers, cable news ads, or create the careers of "fighters for the people" in Congress. The system is the way that it is because to be anything else would destroy it. It's dysfunctional because that's self-preserving.
It will take well beyond 4 years of intense diligence to "fix" our problems in the US. Things have been atrophying for so long that even revolutionaries will likely be surprised at the steps necessary to "correct" health care, social security, public education, energy, telecommunications, and basic infrastructure. Much less for the "conservatives" and other people who have their head in the sand. This country looks like the Soviet Union did in 1992. Everything has been looted from the future to line the pockets of people today.
RE: The election is basically over.