Okay, so I admit I didn't originally want Barack Obama to win the US Presidency. I thought he was too inexperienced, and there was something about his very smoothness, his apparent reliance on style over content, that reminded me uncomfortably of Tony Blair. In addition, I had a bit of a sentimental attachment to John McCain on the grounds that for someone of his age to win the presidency would give encouragement to clapped-out old gits everywhere.
But there's no point being churlish about this. Obama deserves his victory if only for having stood up to the onslaught of two of the hitherto most powerful machines in world politics - the Republican machine, and the Clinton machine.
I still don't buy all the silky, JFK-style rhetoric. I've already lived too long and seen too many smooth-tongued politicians worm their way into the affections of the British public to believe in all that stuff. But underneath it all Obama strikes me as a decent sort of man, and if he can restore some stability to American foreign policy and its domestic economy over the next few years he will be well on the way to becoming a great president.
Did he win it, or did McCain lose it? A bit of both I think. Obama clearly came into this election as the "change candidate" and played that hand for all it was worth, both against Clinton and later against McCain. But I think McCain also made errors, notably in failing to do enough to differentiate himself from the increasingly despised George W. Bush and claiming after the collapse of Lehman brothers that the American economy was "fundamentally sound."
Was making Sarah Palin his running mate an error? That's a difficult one to call. She certainly energised the McCain campaign and brought a much-needed touch of glamour, but perhaps a man of 72 who has had cancer four times should have paid slightly more heed to experience in selecting the person who would be "a heartbeat away from the presidency."
As for the most hilarious spectacle in the election, it has to be the sight of British Tories attempting to clamber aboard the Obama bandwagon once it became reasonably clear he was going to win. No matter that he's the most left-wing president since Franklin D. Roosevelt - there's absolutely nothing the ideology-free-zone that is today's Tory Party won't do to get with the zeitgeist.