Al Gore is a poignant figure for many Democrats. The 2000 election is by now a long time ago, and the memories of the Florida recount are fading for many. But not for everyone.
I just wrote a book about the Supreme Court called The Nine, and I was struck by how fresh the wounds of Bush v. Gore still are for many people.
Watch: Gore: 'We must seize this opportunity'
Justice Antonin Scalia, who voted for Bush, is fond of saying that the losers in that case should "just get over it." Many still haven't.
As we saw today, Al Gore is not a great orator. But he's a hero to many - and many still believe he was robbed in 2000.
I thought Joe Biden gave the weakest of the major speeches of this convention.
Watch: 'This is our time,' says Biden
He stumbled through many of the best lines, he didn't have a clear theme, and he didn't deliver any memorable phrases or ideas.
It was a beautiful picture at the end - with the young Barack Obama and the older Biden together with their families. Beau Biden, the senator's son, gave a better introduction than his father gave a speech.
Bill Clinton acknowledges the crowd before speaking at the DNC. (Photo credit: AP)
Sure, Clinton was eloquent, but he also made an important political point that may serve as a guide to his fellow Democrats.
Watch: Bill Clinton's entire speech
John McCain is running as a maverick, someone who has defied the orthodoxy of this party. But look at this passage from Clinton's speech:
"As a Senator, he has shown his independence on several issues. But on the two great questions of this election, how to rebuild the American Dream and how to restore America's leadership in the world, he still embraces the extreme philosophy which has defined his party for more than 25 years, a philosophy we never had a real chance to see in action until 2001."
Watch: Bill Clinton gets tough on McCain
In other words, it's one thing to be a maverick on issues like campaign finance and immigration, but on the issues that matter to most people, McCain is a classic Bush Republican. I don't know if voters will accept this argument, but Clinton, as usual, made a clever and possible case.
There's a person who probably won't get much attention on this historic night, but he should. Lyndon B. Johnson would be one hundred years old today.
No elected official did more to make sure that African-Americans had a real right to vote; he pushed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act through Congress - and he recognized that his dedication to civil rights would cost the Democratic Party greatly, especially in the South.
But it was LBJ who was the legislative architect of civil rights - and made the nomination of Barack Obama possible.
Finally a memorable phrase from this convention - Bob Casey calling McCain not a maverick but a sidekick. That's what the Democrats need, something simple and easy to remember.
Listening to Rudy Giuliani reminds me to make mental note. Compare the two keynote addresses that we are going to hear this week and next.
Mark Warner is going to give a classic contemporary Democratic address - careful and cautious. He is going to appeal to bipartisanship. Rudy is going to tear Obama to pieces. It's going to be an extremely negative message.
This is the difference between Democrats and Republicans - and it may be why Republicans have won seven of the last ten presidential elections.