Democrats should not kid themselves: she kicked ass. She gave a great speech, full of killer lines. She did McCain a lot of good, and she did Obama some serious damage. She had just the right tone for attacking Obama: bemused. Feminine ridicule.
She did nothing to convince me that she should be anywhere near the White House. She came across as a slightly absurd figure. Still a stunt. But an effective stunt for the moment.
But one-on-one with Biden she will slap him around the stage. And she will shoot past Biden to hit Obama. Not that all that will matter as much as we sometimes imagine. In the end voters will choose Obama or McCain, not Biden or Palin. A fact for which the Democrats should be grateful.
The biggest drawback (one that Amba noticed, too) were the audience reaction shots. The GOP convention looks like a sort of whites only AARP meeting. Seriously, if you're in need of some old white people I know where you can find some.
(As always, my Tuscan caveat: I'm six hours off EST and watching these events later, on-line, over morning coffee. So my TV experience may not match yours.)