Welcome to Barnett on Political Campaign Success
A Blog About How Political Candidates and Political Causes Can Win
I'm Ned Barnett, and I've been active in politics since I was a kid - going on 50 years now - and I've been a professional in politics (speechwriter, strategist, media coordinator) off and on since the early 70s. It's my hope to use that experience to offer guidance and support to those who are interested in politics, including:
* political candidates
* those considering becoming political candidates
* those seeking to advocate on behalf of issues impacting society
My experiences have been primarily on the conservative side of the ledger, though by no means only in the Republican Party. However, if I do this right, my experiences and advice will help any candidate of any stripe, or any cause-advocate, to better get his or her message across, move voters and make things happen.
In this ongoing blog, I intend to supply readers with "insider" information that represents a combination of practical tips and illustrative "war stories" about political campaigns and political issues management. Since 1968 (when I served as President of the Georgia Federation of Teen Aged Republicans) to today - from there to Nixon and Ford, to Reagan and Bush (with a side-trip to Perot) - I have delivered campaign strategy and media success for state and federal candidates, as well as helped successfully manage divisive political issues. I've even testified twice before Congress, which sounds more impressive than it actually is, and I've worked for several years with the Drug Czar in the White House, which is actually more impressive than it sounds.
I continue to be active in the political realm, and it is on this experience that I hope to offer advice. However, to understand that advice, and the activity on which that advice is based, here is a snapshot of my political background and experience.
As you can see, there's been a lot of experience, so it's a big snapshot - however, a quick review of my track record and timeline will help you decide if I actually have any advice worth listening to.
Caveat Lector - let the reader beware! Or, as my old man (a passionate life-long conservative) told me when teaching me how to play poker, "Trust your old man, son ... but cut the cards!"
Here it is, nut and nutshell.
* 1964 - "Mascot" for the local Young Republicans, did rally and door-to-door work on behalf of Barry Goldwater and independent conservative causes - distributed Phyllis Schlafly produced and anti-LBJ material in on-the-fence Republican district
* 1966 - Fund-Raiser - I held my first fundraiser, for a local Republican Congressman, in my parent's basement - it was a success in financial and vote-generating terms.
* 1968 - Teen-Aged Republicans - I was president of the Georgia Federation of Teen Aged Republicans; in this role I met both John Wayne and Richard M. Nixon (and Pat)
* 1968 - Attended my first National Convention, in Miami
* 1974-5 - Speechwriter for two sitting South Carolina governors, on economic development - one later became Reagan's Secretary of Energy
* 1976 - Presidential - I managed strategy and media for the Ford For President/South Carolina, working with the brilliant 23-year-old Lee Atwater (who was not the person his detractors claimed - you'd never find a more honorable man in politics) - this was a campaign doomed from the start because our opponent was from Georgia, just next door, and was wrongly presumed to be conservative.
* 1977 - Offered a spot on the White House communications team - not because I'd supported Carter (I didn't) but because I'd gone to college with Jody Powell, Ham Jordan and others, who knew of my ability, and knew that ability counted more than political leaning. I declined, as political leaning mattered to me.
* 1977-80 - Working for a SC county hospital created by the state legislature, I became a registered lobbyist to support our hospital's interest. Began a 12-year career as part-time lobbyist and 'grass-roots lobbyist' for the healthcare industry, including frequent trips to DC to see how politics "is made"
* 1978 - Speechwriter for SC Lt. Governor in his bid to become Governor - lost to a Carter Surrogate who later went to DC with Clinton
* 1978 - campaign manager for state assembly; worked strategy and media for successful Re-Elect Representative Floyd Spence (R-SC) Campaign
* 1979 - Led a study group to Canada to take an under-the-hood look at Canadian Healthcare; wrote this up, got it published in industry trade journals, and later testified twice (1979 and 1982) before Congress
* 1980-84 - Worked with Tennessee Hospital Association, providing PR/media/strategy support for lobbying and leading successful annual grass-roots lobbying trips to DC, where I'd write position papers then lead group of constituent hospital executives in meetings with each TN Congressman and Senator
* 1980-84 - I created a national award-winning grass-roots anti-regulation PR/issues-management program that was licensed, ultimately, by 19 other states (it worked in 18 - New Jersey was already regulated beyond hope)
* 1980-84 - Worked closely with Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-TN) on a variety of healthcare-related issues - worked with him not as Tennessee's senator, but as Majority Leader with access to the White House
* 1982-3 - Adjunct Professor, Advanced PR (with focus on issues management), Middle Tennessee State University
* 1982-4 - Wrote and published first two of ten books I've ultimately written and had published on hospital PR, each with strong grass-roots lobbying support elements - one published by the American Hospital Association (AHA)
* 1984 - Named first-ever "Fellow" in PR and Marketing (grass-roots lobbying support) by the American Hospital Association
* 1984-8 - Supported efforts of Florida League of Hospitals and Federation of American Hospitals in their grass-roots lobbying efforts in Florida
* 1990-91 - As first VP Marketing & Fund-Raising for City Hospital in Flint MI, "lobbied" for the hospital locally and in Lansing
* 1992 - Nevada State Media/Strategy Director for Perot For President (I'd read Bush's lips) - stayed with the campaign until he bailed, then joined the other campaign in the same role
* 1992-1994 - Served as Director of Communications for Citizens for Health, and eventually pushed through a bill stripping the FDA of predatory regulatory control of natural herbs and supplements - the "Health Freedom Act" - did this by putting 2,000,000 letters (not emails or faxes, those techs didn't exist widely) on desks of Congressmen within a two-week period.
* 1992-95 - Adjunct Professor of Marketing, Business & Marketing Communications, University of Nevada-Las Vegas - included "reverse-engineering" a presidential speech on campus (or, for those who preferred another candidate, one they watched on TV) to discern the underlying campaign strategy - in essence, taught students how to understand political campaigns
* 1996-2000 - Consultant and grass-roots lobbyist for a 34-group coalition of anti-drug-abuse organizations - met several times with Drug Czar and staff on fighting teen drug abuse - also worked individually with several of those groups - National Families in Action, American Foundation for Drug Prevention, National Drug Prevention League - had on my staff for this effort Reagan's Deputy Drug Czar
* 1996-2008 - On-Call grass roots lobbyist for conservative national causes, such as Citizens for a Sound Economy - in this role, lobbied economic issues before Nevada Congressional Delegation
* 1998 - Managed long-shot campaign for US Senate from Nevada - in this, as other campaigns, I go for the causes and candidates I believe in - winning is important, but there are more important things (to me) than just winning
* 2008 - Using social media and public relations, I successfully positioned myself as a national political commentator for varied media, including Fox (Neil Cavuto x5), Imus, 56 other Radio stations (multiple interviews), and 100-plus print/Internet issues - using my experience and marketing skills, I 'reverse-engineered' political positions, speeches and events, and exposed Obama's real plans (such as his real position on abortion-on-demand as birth control, which Fox later took national)
* 2008-2010 - co-founder and publicity/fund-raising coordinator of a Nevada PAC aimed at unseating Harry Reid
* 2009-2010 - Communications Director, Nevada Republican Party (came in with the Tea Party)
* 2009-2010 - Communications Director, Clark County (Las Vegas) Republican Party - also came in with the Tea Party
* 2009 - 2010 - Consultant for Tea Party Express - created their publication and Internet TV network
* 2006-present - Active political blogger, responsible for "breaking" a number of hidden political stories, which were later picked up by the mainstream media
As I said, that's a lot of nutshell, but if you even skimmed it, you'll know if my advise is worth anything to you. If it is, c'mon along.