Election 2014  
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Kerry, Granholm and Giffords Light Up Crowd on Final Night of Dem Convention

But after sensational speeches from the first lady and Bill Clinton, the president's speech was something of a letdown.

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Obama mentioned the boldness of Franklin Delano Roosevelt – a president notably absent from his list of favorites in the past. But while Obama benefits from comparisons to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, he falls short when compared to a truly transformative president like FDR. Obama talks tough on Wall Street, but his administration is full of its advocates. He had nothing to say about the campaign finance reform needed to curtail its influence. There was much ado about the middle class, but I don’t recall hearing the word “poverty” a single time – a notable omission at a time of growing income inequality and a 15 percent poverty rate.

Inside the arena, there was occassional applause and cheering, but it lacked the verve of some of the earlier spasms of enthusiasm.

As I was thinking all this, I could not help but notice the 12-year-old African American boy sitting beside me holding up his Obama sign, with obvious pride and affection beaming from his face. I’m a North Carolinian, and I know how much having President Obama in Charlotte means in a state where the bitter history of race relations still hurts. Whatever his failings, Obama will forever be associated with a great healing in America, and in that sense, even if his speech did not bring the house down, his very presence was a reminder that change, though difficult, is never out of reach. It would be difficult to overestimate the power of that lesson.

Overall, the Democratic National Convention had much more to offer Americans than its counterpart in Tampa – an inclusive vibe, high production quality, a thankful absence of Clint Eastwood-style embarrassments and an expressed desire to preserve opportunity for all. The GOP will have its work cut out to win this election. As the Dems head home from Charlotte today, they will know that their man, Barack Obama, has been well-feted and stands a good chance of getting four more years in the White House.

Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet senior editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. She is the director of AlterNet's New Economic Dialogue Project. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.