Yes, Palin "beat expectations". About the only way she could not have is if she had gone out there, hitched her skirt, and taken a dump on the stage.
The Republicans who are celeberating this only show just how ridiculous their ticket is, and how little they understand of the real issues and stakes here. They are certainly free to "grade on a curve" if they want, but "not being as big of a joke as she was before" is not a very good standard of success.
Voters don't grade on a curve -- they look at the whole person. And the person Palin showed us last night is one who is not ready for high office. She acted mostly like a robot reading programmed lines, and needed her crib sheet to even attempt to respond to the most basic issues. Her response on the role of the vice-presidency shows that she understands little to nothing about the Constitution.
In the real world you don't get to "cram". You don't have the luxury of reading off crib notes.
She still can't hold a press conference to answer tough questions but we're supposed to believe she's going to make critical decisions and take on Washington? Who is really stupid enough to believe this? Only people who either can't think or choose not to.
Palin's overall attitude, with the plasticky smile and goofy lines, seemed to be that leading this nation is a big joke. But she is the joke -- one that makes a mockery of McCain's claims about the importance of the job he seeks. Anyone who thinks that it's a good idea to support a candidate who bluffs her way through easy questions is not a patriot -- he or she is someone who puts winning an election ahead of the good of the country.