For much of tonight's debate, Sarah Palin avoided any spectacularly obvious stupidity and Joe Biden steered clear of any casually offensive statements. Then came "Say It Ain't So, Joe," an attempted cute catchphrase deployed by Palin that not only failed spectacularly but which was also followed by a cascade of other dumb attempts at adorability. The Republican vice presidential nominee then looked increasingly like the end of Tina Fey's most recent impression. She winked! For the second time in the night! She called her own joke "lame" and tried to laugh at it.

And then she said Joe Biden's wife would be rewarded in heaven because she's a teacher. That would be Biden's second wife, after his first wife and year-old daughter were killed in a horrific car accident and are, in fact, now in heaven. Whoops.

Biden, meanwhile, landed some hard punches. But the key is that he didn't blow things for Obama by screwing up horridly, nor did Palin for McCain. Neither upended the race in either direction. Palin will now likely be kept sequestered from the mainstream media for the rest of the election, except perhaps under very controlled circumstances. And no one will pay much attention to Biden. Which means we can all go back to ignoring the running mates again, as God intended.

Winking graphic from Blogging Via Typewriter!

UPDATE: Some people are having trouble watching the video above. Here's the same video hosted on YouTube: