Okay, so Biden didn't shred Palin the way everyone was expecting, and she somehow managed to avoid sounding like the gibbering idiot she came across as with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson. But has George W. Bush really lowered the bar for GOP candidates so low that this debate could possibly be called a draw?
I'll start by saying both candidates had a problem with evasiveness. But there was one key difference between the two of them -- Biden was cogent and quick on the draw with information that could be easily verified with a quick Google search. Palin, on the other hand, fought like mad to stay on message whether it was relevant or not and showed little obvious ability to think on her feet, resorting to trite sloganeering so often that it was unclear whether she had any original thought at all. Biden actually came across as somewhat flummoxed, like someone who'd just realized that the person he'd been attempting to have a discussion about basic particle physics was actually a cat. I'll give the punditocracy the idea that Palin in some sense "held her own" -- that is, she didn't make herself look like a bigger ditz than she has already. But she didn't exactly raise the bar either -- her responses were bordering on content-free, and she seems to have no feel at all for appropriate speech registers. I mean, that was all George W. Bush had to do in his debates, and look where we are now.
Only the most dishonest or desperate of party hacks could consider this a win for Palin. But what amazes me is that this could be considered even a draw -- I mean, how does that work? This isn't bowling or horse racing where you can spot a less experienced opponent some handicap points. Somewhere on the Senate floor, Hillary Clinton is glad she endorsed Obama.