This Economist article pretty much says everything I have thought about this election. I highly recommend reading the whole article.
A few passages:
At the beginning of this election year, there were strong arguments against putting another Republican in the White House. A spell in opposition seemed apt punishment for the incompetence, cronyism and extremism of the Bush presidency. Conservative America also needs to recover its vim. Somehow Ronald Reagan’s party of western individualism and limited government has ended up not just increasing the size of the state but turning it into a tool of southern-fried moralism.
The selection of Mr McCain as the Republicans’ candidate was a powerful reason to reconsider. Mr McCain has his faults: he is an instinctive politician, quick to judge and with a sharp temper. And his age has long been a concern (how many global companies in distress would bring in a new 72-year-old boss?). Yet he has bravely taken unpopular positions—for free trade, immigration reform, the surge in Iraq, tackling climate change and campaign-finance reform. A western Republican in the Reagan mould, he has a long record of working with both Democrats and America’s allies.
...Ironically, given that he first won over so many independents by speaking his mind, the case for Mr McCain comes down to a piece of artifice: vote for him on the assumption that he does not believe a word of what he has been saying. Once he reaches the White House, runs this argument, he will put Mrs Palin back in her box, throw away his unrealistic tax plan and begin negotiations with the Democratic Congress. That is plausible; but it is a long way from the convincing case that Mr McCain could have made
Our main doubts about Mr Obama have to do with the damage a muddle-headed Democratic Congress might try to do to the economy. Despite the protectionist rhetoric that still sometimes seeps into his speeches, Mr Obama would not sponsor a China-bashing bill. But what happens if one appears out of Congress? Worryingly, he has a poor record of defying his party’s baronies, especially the unions. His advisers insist that Mr Obama is too clever to usher in a new age of over-regulation, that he will stop such nonsense getting out of Congress, that he is a political chameleon who would move to the centre in Washington. But the risk remains that on economic matters the centre that Mr Obama moves to would be that of his party, not that of the country as a whole.
I am very happy with the Obama victory (I'm currently sitting in one of my two Obama shirts as I type this). I supported him in the primaries and my support never wavered in the general election even though I used to be a big fan of McCain's. However, I can't help but be reserved about my optimism and reign in my excitement. I think our country needs to make some difficult decisions in the coming years. We can not continue to run such steep deficits. At the current tax base, we cannot afford to continue to fully-fund Social Security, and Medicare, let alone continue our high defense spending and take on the costs of universal health care.
We need to cut down on spending or raise taxes. Neither decision will be pain-free. It's time that our nation begins a serious discourse about who we are as a nation and who we want to be in the future. The label "socialism" has been thrown around cavalierly in the past couple weeks. It has been dismissed as a cheap attack and not given much thought. I believe what many Americans want in this country is the safety-net and services of a socialist nation, but do not want to pay the necessary taxes for that to be sustainable. Interesting and troubling times are ahead, but at least for the rest of the night, I'm going to sit back, finish my beer, and enjoy Obama's victory.