Yesterday's panel discussion was quite interesting, I thought. Here's a brief synopsis of the speakers' points: William Graebner, Professor of History Emeritus, SUNY-Fredonia Democrats need to get back to their roots and promote their core values: help to those who need it, protecting against the excesses of unchecked capitalism. Len Lenihan, Chairman, Erie County Democratic Committee We need to work on tactics & how better to fight in future national elections. Perception & tactics are what gave the GOP the advantage in 2004's squeaker. Over the next 4 years, Democrats need to go "back to college" and learn how to campaign - and speak to everyone. Antoine Thompson, City of Buffalo Councilman, Masten District, and Erie Co. Coordinator John Edwards for President It's all about indirect messaging. Think about Bush on the ranch in Crawford. That's not just a vacation - it's a not-too-subtle message to rural America that he's (allegedly) just like them. Democrats need to acknowledge the power of indirect messaging and apply it. Kevin Hardwick, Professor of Political Science, Canisius College The token Republican on the panel explained that Democrats always complain that they lost by one state - so they ought to pick some key states and work them. He also said that Democrats shouldn't be so glum about 2004, because it was a very close election, and the Mass. liberal ran a competitive race against a wartime President. Mark Thomas, County Executive, Chautauqua County The Democrats need to do nationwide what they've been able to do in NYS - appeal to rural voters. The national party needs to make a serious investment in time and resources to get the message out to rural voters. He is living proof that Democrats can win in rural, conservative areas with the right organization and message. Simon Peter Gomez, Asst. Professor of Political Science, Buffalo State College I honestly don't remember, because I lost my notes for this speaker.

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