I take the view from my sometimes favorite philosopher, who incisively argues that
[the] reason Obama's victory generated such enthusiasm is not only that, against all odds, it really happened: it demonstrated the possibility of such a thing happening. The same goes for all great historical ruptures--think of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Although we all knew about the rotten inefficiency of the Communist regimes, we didn't really believe that they would disintegrate--like Kissinger, we were all victims of cynical pragmatism. Obama's victory was clearly predictable for at least two weeks before the election, but it was still experienced as a surprise.
Full text from LRB here. Arguably, there is a translation lag in the latter quote as well, but it's one that is swept away by the sheer energetic conviction of SZ.