I don’t really want Obama to win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote. I too want him to have a mandate, though the Bush administration showed that the exact margin of the vote may not be what lets you act like you have a mandate.
But it has to happen sometime. The 2000 election made liberals pretty unhappy with the electoral vote, but it didn’t do enough to get it abolished. Perhaps Republicans saw defending the electoral college as necessary for defending Bush. But if the situation ever gets reversed and the Republicans lose an election while winning the popular vote, we might finally have the momentum to change the process. The electoral college isn’t the worst aspect of our political system, but at this point it raises the continual risk of elections being seen as illegitimate, and we need to remove that.