Sure Palin didn't fall apart quite as much as she did during the Couric interviews. She didn't make any major gaffes and she did that thing she does so well, namely appealing to Joe Six Pack with her "ya" and her charms. So yes, she exceeded those extremely lowered expectations. However, I would argue that on many levels her performance was a disaster once you got over the fact that she can be relentless and "hold her own". First, the woman doesn't speak proper English. Maybe some people don't care about that but I'm an elitist snob, so I do. Second, answering the questions you want to answer instead of the questions you are being asked may enable you to go back to your talking points, but it doesn't make you look smart. Third, appealing to hockey moms and Joe Six Packs is transaparent and cheap and I hereby give up on trying to understand what that even means or what moves that demographic. Again, I'm just an elitist snob.
Palin's supposed expectation defying performance aside, the true surprise of the evening was Biden who frankly made me nervous going into the debate. He was firm without being arrogant, intelligent without being too philosophical and, most curiously, emotional, in an authentic non-scripted way. As my friend Brian put it, "he was the only human being on the stage. She was a robot with a 486 processor." To that I would only add, a 486 processor-run robot would at least have a grip of the mysterious intricacies of English grammar and syntax. She doesn't.