(Chuck Muth) – When I originally began training candidates back in 1996 – after spending a week with Newt Gingrich at his Campaign Management College in Washington, DC – part of my thought process was this…
“If I use what I’ve just learned to get elected, that’d be one more conservative in office. But if I can help teach hundreds of other conservatives what I’d just learned so that THEY get elected, that’d make a much bigger difference.”
More than 25 years later, I find myself in the same situation again.
I love writing Muth’s Truths. More than you know. For me, it’s kinda like therapy. Much better than throwing stuff at my TV screen when CNN comes on.
I try to simplify politics and policy to a level where the average voter who isn’t glued to FOX News three hours a night can understand. And do so in both an educational and entertaining fashion.
While it’s true that my ability is in part due to, as Rush Limbaugh used to say, “talent on loan from God,” I’ve also spent 25+ years and six-figures learning how to write from some of the most successful marketing copywriters on Planet Earth.
Guys like Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer, John Carlton, Robert Collier, David Ogilvy, the Antin brothers, Ted Nicholas, Robert Cialdini, Richard Viguerie, Ed Rush, Perry Belcher and dozens upon dozens of others I’m sure most of you have never heard of.
Yes, writing effectively in politics CAN be learned by anyone with the desire.
For me, believe it or not, it all started long, long ago, in my early 20’s, when something I read in the local newspaper where I grew up – I can’t remember what it was specifically (Biden Moment!) – got me hot under the collar.
So I penned a short letter-to-the-editor and shot it off to the Baltimore Sun, never thinking it’d ever be published in a million years. But lo and behold…it got printed!
From that point on, I was hooked. Seeing my name and thoughts published in the city’s largest (and liberal) newspaper was, in the immortal words of Sleepy Joe Biden, “a big f-ing deal.”
Years later, in late 1993 – as I was beginning to get more actively involved in politics at the Clark County Republican Party – I ran into the publisher of a weekly newspaper (long since shuttered) at a Christmas party at former Lt. Gov. Lonnie Hammargren’s house.
During the course of the conversation, I mentioned that I liked to write and he mentioned that he wanted to add a weekly conservative opinion column to his paper so the editorial content wasn’t so one-sided to the left.
“I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates; you’ve got a brand new key.”
Figuring I had nothing to lose, I inked my first column. Submitted it. And they actually published it.
Heaven! I’m in heaven!
My subsequent columns got noticed by then-Clark County GOP Grand Imperial Pooh-Bah George Harris, who asked me to start writing press releases and articles for him. I did.
Then when George opted not to run for chairman again in 1995, and persuaded me to run, he and then-Nevada Republican National Committeeman Tom Wiesner got enough Central Committee members liquored-up at a pre-election cocktail reception at the old Showboat Hotel that I won!
And the rest, as they say, is history. Been “doing politics” full-time ever since.
The first newsletter I published as chairman, using what was then “high-tech” blast-faxing (ask your mom), was called “GOPress.” It evolved over the years into Muth’s Truths.
I then started self-syndicating my columns for various newspapers in Nevada. But I reached the Mt. Everest pinnacle of political writing on October 5, 2006 when a column I wrote on Nevada’s political landscape got published in the Wall Street Journal.
I got that one framed and hanging in my office!
So why am I telling you all this?
Oh, before I get to that, let me mention one other thing: I only have a high school diploma.
I went to one class one night at my local community college, walked out…and never looked back. So don’t think you need some fancy journalism degree from Cornell University to become an effective political commentator or reporter.
Which brings me back to my main point…
With Muth’s Truths, I’m one conservative voice in Nevada’s political wilderness. But if I can show and teach dozens – or hundreds – of other conservatives what I’ve learned over the years…well, that’ll make a MUCH bigger difference.
And here’s the best part…
Thanks to Al Gore inventing the Internet, ANYONE – even you – can start their own political blog/newsletter and never have to worry whether or not some liberal editor will publish it.
In addition, online newsblogs – like my Nevada News & Views – don’t operate under the same length, cost and print restraints of a traditional newspaper. Which means there’s a lot more room for a lot more voices…and Lord knows we need more conservative ones.
And seriously, it can all start just by learning how to be a “keyboard warrior” writing effective replies on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. It’s the modern-day version of how my letter-to-the-editor got me started decades ago.
So one of the projects I’ve been working on since taking a sabbatical from Muth’s Truths is developing a program for Citizen Outreach Foundation’s “Campaign Management College” to recruit, train and coach aspiring political writers.
Here’s lesson #1: Forget everything you ever learned in Miss Nancy’s grammar class and write like you talk.
“Ain’t” IS a word. It’s OK to start a sentence with “and” or “but.” It’s OK (even preferable) to use contractions. And you can even end sentences with prepositions!
Look, your objective is to express, not impress – a lesson Nevada’s #2 liberal blogger (everyone else is tied for #1), Jonny Jihad Ralston, has never learned. In fact, he does the exact opposite of what I teach.
While I take fancy-schmancy words and replace them with simple, easy-to-understand ones, he takes simple, easy to understand words and then checks his Thesaurus to come up with some obscure one that most people have to look up to figure out what the heck he means.
While Jonny Jihad has an ego as big as all outdoors – he’s a living legend in his own mind – he actually suffers from some serious self-esteem issues and is constantly trying to “prove” how much smarter and better he is than you.
Truth is, in politics you’re not writing a term paper trying to impress your college professor. You’re writing to persuade average people to your side of an issue or campaign.
All of which is to say if you’re a candidate, a party leader or just a grassroots activist who has a love and affinity for the printed word, my “School of Killer Keyboard Warriors” will soon be in session.
At an introductory lunch, which I’ll tell you about in a second, I’m going to show you exactly how I “wrote” my first GOPress newsletters and “wrote” my first book…without ever writing a single word myself.
So if you don’t think you have the writing skills to be a skillful political “writer,” think again.
Heck, you might even end up becoming a regular contributor to Nevada News & Views…which is exactly what I hope will happen. I need more conservative voices.
Now, if this is something you might be interested in, here’s what to do…
WRITE me an email (you already know how much I hate phone calls) asking to be put on the list of folks I’m going to invite to a FREE introductory session over lunch at the Ahern Freedom Hotel in Las Vegas in the next couple of weeks.
Once I know how many people are interested, I’ll know how big of a room to reserve.
Your only “cost” will be a couple hours of time and the price of whatever meal you order (unless you want to also pick up the cost of MY lunch, which would be totally cool).
So even if this opportunity turns out not to be for you, at least we’ll all leave on a full stomach!
If this is something you might even be remotely interested in, shoot your name, email address and best contact phone number to email@example.com. And I’ll let you know when we have the date set.
Move over, Jonny Jihad. There’s (grammatically incorrect contraction!) some new conservative sheriffs comin’ to town!
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“I don’t understand much about politics…” – Liberal blubber-blogger Jon Ralston, 1/2/20
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.