Anne Wexler, Burger Queen


And if you thought lobbying firms had any shame, we learned that Wexler provides another service called a “Grassroots and Lobbying Education” skit for trade association conventions and corporate conferences. According to the firm, this “new and whimsical approach has proven wildly successful in energizing and educating employees and association members, who in the past would have slept through standard issue government affairs presentations.”

Mother Jones obtained a script prepared by The Wexler Group for a presentation before last November’s convention of the National Franchise Association (NFA), a group of Burger King franchisees. The script included a video featuring several members of Congress (not named in the memo) talking about the importance of grassroots lobbying. Their remarks were to be “Burger King specific.”

The Wexler Group also proposed a video featuring the lobby shop’s president, former representative and Newt Gingrich confidante Robert Walker, which was to be filmed in front of the Capitol and at a Burger King restaurant. The segment was apparently canceled when the NFA balked at the proposed budget of $1,640 for a three-minute segment. However, Walker did serve as master of ceremonies (greeting the audience with “Welcome to Washington, may I take your order please?”) with lobbyist Joel Malina, among other Wexler employees, being assigned leading roles.

Here are a few outtakes from the performance (you can also view excerpts from the memo). For most reviewers, “whimsical” would probably not be the first word to spring to mind:

______________________________________
“Have it Your Way”

Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce
Special orders don’t upset us
All we ask is that you let us serve it your way

Washington can be confusing
So we’ll offer you amusing
Anecdotes to teach you how to get it your way

Politics is not a cancer
Get involved, hey that’s the answer
Take the time and lawmakers will you to say,
Have it your way! Have it your way! . . . . . .(repeat)

______________________________________
Song (to the tune of “Officer Krupke” from West Side Story)

Dear Senator Max Baucus
I wanted you to know
This minimum wage ruckus
Is just a lot of blow
My workers earn a living wage, it ain’t sub-standard pay
Why’s Ted Kennedy ruining my day?

Constituent contact is what we suggest
By letter, meeting, fax or phone, (just don’t be a pest)
Remember that you have incredible clout
You have the vote to throw them out (throw them out!)
If you’ve any doubt you can use your vote to throw them out!

Hey Senator Sam Brownback
I thought you’d like to have
A toy figure from The Hunchback
Please take the entire bag!
My business is immense I employ hundreds in your state
Can’t you help get OSHA off my case?

If you’ve got a problem, don’t sit home and stew
You sent them all to Washington to answer to you
Just make an appointment, and tell ’em the deal
Make a constituent appeal (-ent appeal)
Show some zeal, spin your wheels, give your Burger spiel,
Make a grand constituent appeal

Yes, congressman from Texas
I’m worried, filled with dread
That you’ll try to raise my taxes
And put me in the red
I already pay a bundle and can’t handle more distress
Hold the pickle and the IRS!

It isn’t a secret, the answer is clear
Once you get on their radar screen you’ve nothing to fear
Just making the effort is half of the game
No personal contact, no gain!

______________________________________
Song (to the tune of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”)

Congressman, senator we’ve formed a PAC
Now we can act
No need for tact
Pooling resources makes very good sense
So we formed a little PAC

When NFA’s membership starts to pitch in
Growing the fund
Access begins
Should ever a congressman put up his guard
The PAC is our calling card

Together we’ll sit in judgment
Rewarding those who have voted our way
And who would risk incurring the grudge-ment
Of the mighty and powerful NFA!

Any lawmaker ignoring our PAC
Risks being fried
Like a Big Mac
Working together’s the tried and true way to
Deliver the facts
Give pats on the back
Favors attract
Enemies sacked
Through NFA’s brand new PAC!

______________________________________
Song (to the tune of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”)

Listen up!
Here’s advice
If you want to endear and entice
On the Hill, everyday
You’ll see congressmen reading their papers

There’s the Times
And the Post
But the one they’re absorbing the most
Is the one from back home
Mister, everyone’s reading their papers

Just as Bob said
Visit editorial boards
Write a drop dead letter or publish an op ed

To make strides
Here’s a hint
Put your side of the issue in print
Nothing else is the same
As a lawmaker reading his paper and seeing your name!

(Dance Break—with papers)

To make strides
Here’s a hint
Put your side of the issue in print
Nothing else is the same
As a lawmaker reading his paper and seeing your name!

______________________________________
Song (to the tune of “We Are Family!”)
(lyrics on screen for sing-along)

We are Franchisees
We make Double Whoppers with Cheese
We are Franchisees
Get off your broiled patties and sing!

We are Franchisees
We make Double Whoppers with Cheese
We are Franchisees
Get off your broiled patties and sing!

We are Franchisees
We make Double Whoppers with Cheese
We are Franchisees
Get off your broiled patties and sing!

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