(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

Almost without exception, every bit of the analysis and punditry you read or hear from mainstream media sources — including even new media outlets like the major cable news channels — will have missed the most important point about Thursday night's vice presidential debate. They all think it was close, and they all think that some of the things Slow Joe Biden said actually mattered.

To non-sophisticates (which isn't an insult, by the way, and most definitely isn't a synonym for "unsophisticated") — to ordinary people of every economic class, occupation, gender, religion, and even political persuasion — from outside the Beltway and the bi-coastal Blue-State media enclaves, the defining moment of the debate was when a young governor from a remote, sparsely populated state strode confidently across the national stage, stuck out her hand for a firm handshake, looked a silver-haired senator of 36 years' tenure squarely in the eye, and said: "Nice to meet you. Hey, can I call you Joe?"

At that moment, the champagne bubble of the elites popped. For millions of viewers (but almost no national pundits), the juxtaposition telegraphed a clear message: "She's not one of them, she's one of us. But she isn't awed by him. She's not afraid."

Gov. Sarah Palin greets Sen. Joe Biden before their vice presidential debate (Reuters photo)

By five minutes into the debate, the notion that this young hockey-mom turned governor is an airhead, unable to string two coherent sentences together without a teleprompter, had been completely exploded. The deception and outright malice of those who've been peddling that lie became obvious. Of course the issues were being addressed, substantively and in detail, by both the Democratic and GOP Veep nominees, but in her case, in a voice — literally in an accent — of unpretentious, ordinary Americans, and with a disdain for the kind of double-talk which lets a politician pretend that he was really against a war he voted to authorize.

Gov. Sarah Palin is electrically fresh. And she is the real deal, an authentic three-dimensional person rather than a blank screen upon which to project our hopes. And the important point confirmed by Thursday night's debate is very simply this: Sarah Palin is nothing less than the instrument through which ordinary, non-mystical Americans may reclaim their national government.

That's why McCain's announcement of her candidacy suddenly changed the entire course of this election. That's why her acceptance speech at the Republican National Commission dropped millions of jaws. That's why millions of voters — including undecideds and independents and swing voters, disappointed Hillary voters, disappointed movement conservatives, even non-voters — who watched this debate are saying to themselves: "Well! Now that was different!"

Over the course of the next month, as the impressions she made tonight are reconfirmed, the seed of affinity that Sarah Palin has planted will continue to germinate. We millions of voters who'd previously imagined ourselves with, at best, a sour taste in our mouths after voting this year suddenly realize that, actually, we can cast a vote for Sarah Palin that makes us feel good about the whole process. Through her, we can be connected again with our national government. Her voice is our voice, and in her we have a new champion who actually isn't just slumming or pretending to be one of us. She doesn't need a focus group to interpret, because she actually is one of us. She doesn't need to write a memoir of her journey of self-discovery because she's always known she's Chuck and Sally Heath's daughter, she's Todd Palin's wife, she's "Mom" to Track and Bristol and Willow and Piper and Trig — and she's the one of us who stepped forward to prove that she has the heart of a genuine servant of the public.

Anyone who's focused on scoring this debate on points is counting raindrops in a hurricane. Here's a grumpy paragraph from the New York Times that is cluelessness personified:

Short of a complete bravura performance that would have been tough for even the most experienced national politician to turn in — or a devastating error by the mistake-prone Mr. Biden, who instead turned in an impressively sharp performance — there might have been little Ms. Palin could have done to help Mr. McCain.

That's spoken by a mainstream media giant who's just had its pants yanked down to its ankles from behind, and who's then been sprayed with molasses and coated in feathers. It's standing there continuing to preach at you and me without any comprehension of what a laughing-stock it's become. Actually, it doesn't know you or me, except as vague shadows "somewhere out there in flyover country." It can't hear our laughter. It can't even remotely comprehend why you or I want to pump our fists in the air and shout "Sarah! Sarah!"

"Can I call you Joe?" Yes, she can, because he's just another old dude with a line of blah-blah-blah. He doesn't deserve her, or our, reverence because he's a fading irrelevancy from the past. And this is a brand new day, a day of new leadership in the shining city on a hill.

— Beldar