I'm torn between relief that Gov. Palin didn't embarrass herself in front of the largest audience in her life and disappointment at not getting to see the Republican ticket completely implode spectacularly in prime time.
I am pleased for her as a human being that she did not repeat her humiliating performance from last week on CBS. As much as I despise her politics, it's nice to see the first female candidate in the nationwide general election in 20 years to not come out looking utterly empty-headed on her biggest stage yet. She looked poised and spoke clearly, if a bit too heavy on the folksy colloquialisms.
However, while she spoke clearly she did not speak intelligently. I am thoroughly disgusted at how many times she tried to shoehorn an unrelated talking point script in instead of answering the actual question. "I disagree with that ... and I'd like to talk about energy" is not an answer, it's evasion. She pulled it out far too many times. Not once did I hear her answer with anything but a carefully pre-scripted talking point. That's not a debate, that's one of those pre-recoded robocalls.
In contrast, while Sen. Biden didn't deliver a knockout punch to her ridiculous campaign, he did a very smart thing - he didn't even bother to go after her and risk looking condescending or sexist. Instead he aimed all his attacks at Sen. McCain knowing, probably, that voters don't vote for the VP candidate, they vote for the head of the ticket. He consistently - save one apparently accidental slip where he used her first name - referred to her using her title. I think that was extremely wise. At the same time, he did reasonably well avoiding sticking his foot in his mouth while looking distinguished and charismatic.
While my poor id was deprived of the snarky schadenfreude it so wanted, I think Palin's better-than-expected - if somewhat robotic - performance and Biden's solid - if uninspired - performance balanced each other out. I think the Senator might have had a slight edge over the Governor - especially when he started talking about being a parent - I don't think this debate is going to have much of an effect at all.
Now watch tomorrow's polls prove me wrong! ;-)