Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and Sen. Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE (D-Del.) both won the “debate” last night.

Gov. Palin did what she was there to do: demonstrate that she isn’t as clueless as she appeared to be in her revealing interviews with Katie Couric; and reinvigorate her right-wing enthusiasts. She did both, adequately, evasively and a bit cloyingly. Sen. Biden needed to make no errors or faux pas, and proclaim firmly and gentlemanly the Obama message. He did that excellently.

If there was a loser in the Palin-Biden ”debate,” it was Gwen Ifill, who was awful. Ms. Ifill’s job was to moderate this event, fairly, and to help inform the audience by asking questions and getting answers from the contestants. That she failed to do. Instead, she lobbed out her questions, and sat back while Gov. Palin repeated the pitches she practiced all week, many not at all responsive to the questions. Once she saw she could get away with the tactic, even after Sen. Biden asked for help getting her to answer a question, she did it all night. Gov. Palin even led into one response claiming she’d not answer Ifill’s question because she preferred to say what she rehearsed. Ifill sat watching. No comment.

Thanks, Ms. Ifill, for doing nothing but sitting there. You failed the listeners and viewers — just what the McCain camp hoped would happen when they complained about your partiality. There sure was none of that from you, nor of anything else useful. Tim Russert must be looking down at this mock debate, sadly shaking his head at the failure of his profession.