I don’t know anyone who had high expectations of Sarah Palin going into tonight’s vice-presidential debate. Her speech at the Republican convention was a real barn-burner, but it’s been downhill since then. Her interview with Charlie Gibson was terrible. Her interview with Katie Couric was even worse.
But tonight, Governor Palin exceeded expectations. She held her own (in complete, intelligible sentences), and she did no harm to the McCain campaign. In fact, if I had to pick a winner, I would say that Palin came out on top. In the final analysis, however, I think this debate will be seen as fairly inconsequential. Senator Obama is leading this race, and nothing happened tonight that will change this fact.
One item of note. Hot-button cultural issues took a backseat throughout the evening. They did not interact on abortion at all. The discussion of same-sex marriage was minimal, and the differences between the candidates on this issue were not brought into plain view.
If you missed the debate, you can read the transcript here.