What a disappointment for Saturday Night Live writers! Palin not only avoided gaffes, but held her own, put Biden on the ropes on occasion, and gave voice to ordinary Americans. Her closing statement, with a Reaganesque reference to “our sunset years,” made her very appealing, patriotic, and serious. Biden was well-prepared, but was so intent on getting his “facts” out that he seemed to suck the life out of the evening. His efforts to discredit McCain as just a Bush clone seemed inauthentic. But he knows his stuff and didn’t make any errors. Her performance glowed at times. At other times she seemed to stumble. But by refusing to fall into the traps that Biden and Ifill set for her, she did much more than survive. It was no convention performance, but it may have given more than a handful of people, skeptical of media, worried about the future of the country, a reason to vote for McCain.