Why is Bill O’Reilly Speaking at The 2012 International Franchise Association’s Convention?

Bill O'Reilly at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, September 30, 2010


It’s just a harmless little question. I’m just a curious guy.


International Franchise Association PAC Donations


Republican campaign contributions are in red. Democratic contributions are blue.


The chart above is courtesy of  OpenSecrets.org. Their tagline;


Help us shine a light on the money in politics.”


There should be no doubt in your mind on which side of the aisle the largest and most powerful franchise association, (and it’s members) tend to congregate. Not only do they spend lots of time on the Right, it’s pretty obvious to me where most of their good ole boy backslapping networking happens, too.  (With checkbooks in tow, I would imagine.)


Is it wrong? I suppose it is if you’ve paid several thousands of dollars in membership dues, spend thousands more on travel/entertainment, but don’t vote Republican.


I’m curious; if you voted for President Obama…let’s even say that you enthusiastically voted for Obama, and always vote Democratic, are IFA gatherings uncomfortable to attend?


What if the situation was reversed? If you always voted Republican, and the IFA leaned Left, and threw their money towards the Democrats, would you feel out of place? Would you feel uncomfortable?


My reason for writing this post has less to do with party affiliations than it has to do with principles. (I think.) Think about it; one day you’re at home watching Wolf Blitzer extol the virtues of 2-3 Democratic Senators, and the next, you’re travelling to Orlando to attend the IFA Convention, and hear Bill O’Reilly speak about all things Republican.


If you believe in Democratic principles, how can you talk yourself into spending $2,500 to listen to Bill O’Reilly tell you that you’re an idiot?


Bill Clinton spoke a few years ago. If you voted Republican, didn’t you feel weird travelling to an IFA Convention to hear him tell you pretty much the same thing?


Does it matter? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic.


If you’re still here.






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  • Mike Mccormack1

    Do you really care about the politics of an actor as you are watching him in a movie? Probably not. Same situation here, I think. Just like Clinton, O’Reilly is an actor, playing a part for our entertainment value. He’s hired to come do his schtick, not change minds. What’s revealing (but should come as no surprise) is that the overwhelming majority of the franchisees are Republican…and they contribute. Republicans are the ones creating jobs out there. They are supportive of the party that fights to make government “back off” and let them do what they do best, without intrusive legislation and other encumbrances. The Democrats (who contribute the least) are the “takers” and won’t get it if God himself showed up to tell them what idiots they are!

    • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for popping by. 

      I’m not sure if their are actually more Republican franchisees than Democratic ones…it would be cool to have such data.

      You wrote that, “Republicans are the ones creating jobs.”

      Mike, no one is doing out country justice in creating jobs.

      I don’t really care which party creates jobs presently. I only want to see some of them created.

      The Franchise King® 

    • Richard Adams

      The Democrat party has never been as anti-business and pro-regulation as they are today.

    • http://Martin.Lindeskog.name lyceum1776

      Republicans as such are not “creating jobs out there.” Politicians should stay away from business. They should protect the individual rights of the businessmen.

      I agree with you that Bill O’Reilly is an actor and he is doing his thing at events, as a part of the entertainment.

      To Joel: Have a good time at the convention! :)

      • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King

        Thanks, Martin.

        I won’t be going…but if I was to go…..


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alfonso-Hilario/100003060987385 Alfonso Hilario

    This post is awesome..i’ve been reading tons of crap posts from other blogs, but shows you have a more educated reader base.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alfonso-Hilario/100003060987385 Alfonso Hilario

    This post is awesome..i’ve been reading tons of crap posts from other blogs, but shows you have a more educated reader base.

  • Segreto Paul

    Nice post, Joel.

    Political views aside, I’ve never understood why political figures are asked to speak at IFA Conventions. Attendees spend huge sums of money to attend to network with other franchise professionals, share information by participating in break-out sessions and roundtable discussions, and learn by attending the same on the other side of the podium. It’s a franchise convention!

    With that in mind, who really cares what O’Reilly, or George Bush, or Bill Clinton has to say? I’d rather hear someone speak about how technology should be integrated into business today to achieve future success… or, any other “practical” topic that is relevant to helping franchisors, franchisees and franchise service providers succeed.

    For those who disagree, what was your valuable take-away from Mitt Romney at lasy year’s IFA Convention? I thought so…

    Keep on blogging, Joel… You’re ALWAYS getting us to think!

    • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King

      Thanks a lot, Paul.

      This was one of those posts in which I paused for a couple of moments before I hit, “publish.”

      I knew that I’d probably piss off 50% of the people who are regulars here. But, I really can’t stand how things are going in DC-and slowly…but surely, the IFA is turning into more of a lobbying group than anything else.

      I know that they do some good things for our industry. But, lots of their newsletters…their announcements have more to do with what bill they’re supporting that’s going through congress, rather than helping our industry grow.  

      You WILL enjoy Guy Kawasaki’s presentation, though.

      I promise that he’ll REALLY get you thinking!

      You do a find job. Keep up the work that you’re focused on, Paul.


    • http://www.franchise-info.ca michael_webster

      Generally, those people who are getting interested in government relations are losing interest in franchise operations.  I agree with Joel that government relations should not be at the top of any franchisee association’s list – 4th or 5th maybe.

      • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King

        Hi Michael,

        Thanks for chiming in on this.

        We know the deal.

        I’m sure that the IFA isn’t the only major association that’s changed in the past few years—into lobbying organizations.

        But why?



        • http://www.franchise-info.ca michael_webster

          Joel, the IFA has always been a lobby group.  Rosenberg’s interests lay with financial empires, and the current group of top players at the IFA interested in the same.

          • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King

            You know more than me about all things, “association.”

            Is it that lots of people never knew that the IFA was just a lobbying group, or…is it because the internet has made us so much more tuned in?


  • Christian Faulconer

    Interesting question. I agree with Paul — I’d rather see someone with something interesting to say about business in general and franchising specifically. At the same time, I think the IFA is pretty straight forward about  its mission. From their website, “IFA’s mission is to protect, enhance and promote franchising through government relations, public relations and educational programs.”

    Government relations is at the top of the list and I am guessing that’s why we see people like Clinton, Bush, and Romney as keynote speakers. 

    • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King


      Long time no chat.

      Thanks for popping in. I don’t really see why , “Government relations” is…or should be, on the top of the list for the IFA’s mission.

      But…I’m not a member. So, I have no say in the matter-internally.

      Have a great 2012, and stop by again, willya?


  • Beth Schmitz-Biegler

    I believe it’s an “ego thing”.  I feel special if one of those mentioned is key-noting (any of them, even Clinton in this Red, Red World), pure and simple.  The practical info is gained throughout the conference, this just makes me feel important and part of something larger than my own little piece of the franchising world.  Good marketing tactic on the behalf of the IFA, if you ask me.

    • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King


      This is like “old home week!”

      How are things up North?

      The kid?

      All I can say is this;

      I’m so glad that I’m not a member. 

      As for their marketing tact…I think it misses the mark.

      But, hey…we never always agree!


      • Christian Faulconer


        I’m no O’Reilly fan. The only time I watch him is when he’s on Letterman. :) 

        But the IFA has been good to me so I wanted to defend it here. It has been a great resource for education and networking and I appreciate the lobbying they do on behalf of small businesses. I loved what Doc Cohen said as the IFA lobbied for better access to capital for small businesses. You can read his testimony before the House here: http://www.franchise.org/uploadedFiles/Franchise_Industry/Government_Relations/Doc%20Cohen%20Statement%20HSBC%20June%2010%202009%20FINAL.pdf

        You should come to the convention this year and see if you can get something valuable out of it. If you do, I’ll take you to lunch during the O’Reilly keynote. :)

        • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King

          Thanks for pointing that out, Christian.

          I feel that the IFA used to be a lot more about franchisors than it is now. 

          They seem so entrenched in politics; their messages are all garbled.

          They’ve turned into a Government lobby, and I really can’t believe that most IFA members feel that they’re getting their money’s worth out of membership.

          But, I’m not a member, so I guess that it’s kind of unfair for me to say.

          I’ll take a pretty good guess on this one, though;

          IFA members that are Democrats can’t be feeling too much love from President Caldiera. 

          He seems to want Obama out just as bad as just about every Republican out there.

          I wonder what the IFA would look like if some new campaign finance reform bills took shape, and got passed.



  • Brian

    Interesting question! I personally believe that, unfortunately, politics do matter in business. It is a part of the environment that we do business in. If that environment is not conducive to growth, business suffers. Trying to grow a business in a poor environment is a bit like trying to grow a palm tree in Alaska, it’s going to be a lot harder than it should be.

    Whether they should headline is an entirely different question and my personal opinion is that they should not. The main function of the IFA should be to move franchising forward and I think you are right to ask the question. 

    In some ways, it seems to me that by exerting too much effort in trying to “take over” the political arena and use it to give us what we want really sets us up to rely on the political system to continue giving us what we set up. Is this any different that the complaint about those that rely on social programs such as unemployment, welfare, etc?

    A better focus would be how to create businesses that are more independent of government. Places where we have our own financing solutions and don’t rely on the political system to give us what we want.

    Not sure that Bill O’reilly fits the bill….

    • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King

      Thanks for your insightful comment, Brian.

      I wish that we didn’t have to rely on our Government for things, but we do. I don’t think that it’s bad thing to rely on them for, “some” things. 

      That’s why we pay too much in taxes. Right?


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