By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"It's going to be as big as the Super Bowl," Monica says of the convention, over the heavy thumps of a hip-hop song. "Why do you think they are having it here in Tampa? It's the Mons. People have got to see what it's all about, even Republicans."
For millions of Americans, the RNC will be a pivotal political moment. In picking Romney and Ryan, Republicans will commit to a radical vision in which government and its social role are decimated, while the rich pay lower taxes than any point since the Spanish flu ravaged the earth.
But for strippers, porn stars and a small group of savvy small-business owners, the convention means something much simpler: money. And lots of it. They're banking big on the fact that the same guys waxing nobly about family values will be lining up at titty bars after midnight.
"The history we've heard about the RNC is that there are people who will come out and spend," says Tony Hernandez, the manager of the Tampa Gold Club, "whether it's the delegates or the construction guys setting up and breaking things down."
Strip clubs have pimped themselves out in anticipation. The Gold Club has installed more black granite and marble tile than in a P. Diddy mansion. There will be $7 grouper nuggets and $18 veal shank on the menu, Hernandez says, plus Dom Pérignon and cigars, of course. There will also be giant flatscreen monitors so delegates can tweet about the convention even while getting a lap dance.
But if that isn't elite enough for one-percenters, they can rent a private sky box with its own bar and stripper stage. A private entrance allows limos to pull right up to the door and prevents paparazzi from snapping politically embarrassing photos. And as a special convention bonus, delegates will also be treated to an assortment of their favorite adult-film stars.
In fact, nearly every club is already seeing an influx of porn stars, as well as out-of-state and out-of-retirement strippers. Hernandez says his club will keep things strictly apolitical, but others are playing right into the RNC theme.
"I'm going to do my Palin show," says Lisa Ann, a porn star who over the past four years has impersonated the Alaskan VP candidate in classics such as Who's Nailin' Paylin? and the point-of-view flick You're Nailin' Paylin.
"I come out in my Sarah Palin suit with my hair up and my glasses, and I dance and strip and give away a lot of Palin paraphernalia," she says of her two-night performance at Thee DollHouse. "It's going to be fun."
Ann, who once appeared in a live sex scene with a Mitt Romney look-alike almost as stiff as the real thing, swears her performance isn't political commentary. "I'm sure that there will be a bunch of people from the convention there," she says, "but I'm not here to make fun of politicians."
There is at least one Tampa luminary for whom flashing T&A will be about more than making some cash. Joe Redner, the 72-year-old owner of Mons Venus, is a philosophizing free-speech advocate who has donated his land to the Occupy Tampa movement. He's also a pain in local politicians' asses. In 1976, Redner took over a bar called the Night Gallery, and after hearing on the radio about the Supreme Court's decision to allow nudity in movies, he concluded that nude dancing would have to be protected as well.
For years, Redner played cat-and-mouse with Tampa police. When a girl stripped onstage, undercover cops would arrest her. But as soon as they took her outside, Redner would replace her with another. Then he'd go bail out the first girl. "It took nine girls on a three-girl rotation for us not to get shut down," he laughs. "They ran out of undercovers!"
Redner himself was arrested dozens of times. Eventually, he won an injunction against the city's nudity ordinance. Since then, he has run eight times for political office. In 2007, he lost in a runoff for city council with 44 percent of the vote. He has pretended in court to be gay in order to prevent a homophobic law from being enforced. His battles have pitted him against Hillsborough County Christian fundamentalists such as state Senator Ronda Storms, who has likened Redner to the devil.
Like other strip club owners, Redner says he looks forward to taking Republicans' money. But he sees it as long-overdue economic redistribution from the rich to the poor (his dancers are self-employed, receiving 100 percent of their lap dance fees and tips).
"The big businesses, energy companies and banks that back the Republicans have been stealing from the little people for years," he says. "Now we're going to take some of their money. I'm glad to."
Redner doesn't hide his opinions. He doesn't have time to. He's got stage 4 lung cancer and a deep cough that reminds him of his inevitable death. He doesn't want to see the country he's gone to jail for more than 150 times — yes, a country with titty bars and pornography — thrown out for a reactionary Reich.
The question is - Can half this country order the other have to the tongue of the wagon? A very real form of human bondage.
And even if it turns out that way, the formula does not work. It violates the Law of Self Interest. People will not devote ever more hours of labor every day and not receive the direct benefit of that labor. We are trending from avoidance to evasion and it will accelerate.
And to exacerbate the situation, we have reached the point where we have taxed Future wealth and income yet to be created to the extent it won't be - created. Again, it is the usurpation of the law of self-interest.
This ain't your Daddy's Depression. That debt wall is now so large it darkens the skies. And it's alive. It is growing upon itself. And the only thing that has any possibility of overtaking its rate of growth is growth. Growth in the the Gross Domestic Product. that's us, folks, not Wall Street. And that means small business. For it has always been the Great Unwashed that has tractored us all out of these recessions and depressions.
And that takes us back to square one.
It ain't magic and it is not a matter of rote faith, a Hail Mary, or a wing and a prayer.
We are in a very dark place, and this is just Purgatory. It can and will get a lot worse. Just look at the last century.
So yeah, we will be at each other's throats if we do not change course immediately.
The dogs are mewling and the birds are flying inland. Every natural sign is yelling, something bad is coming.
How is that Hope and Change going for you? 15 million more on food stamps and unemployed keep hoping for a change.
@Sarge Keep that thought,soon you will get your voucher for H/C about 6k short, but hey they love you,LOL
Judging by his repeated references, Michael Miller either has a secret fetish for guns, or an irrational fear of them, not sure which...
@CREATIVEVIRTUOS I am a little confused by the title on this article....this has nothing to do with strippers!
The GOP’s 2012 convention theme will be, “We Did Build This!” — which is amusing since the Republican National Committee convention will actually be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which is publicly-owned and is managed with taxpayer funds. The media center for the RNC Convention is the Tampa Convention Center, which is also publicly-owned, and was built with $140 million in taxpayer funds.
The GI bill and massive road construction were federal programs that aided the parents of today's white suburban citizens, yet they insist upon excoriating African-Americans for being "dependent upon the government for assistance". Republican trash talk and race-baiting is feeding this ignorance.
The Romney-Ryan-Akin team has forbidden the press from asking any questions about Medicare, reproductive rights, or tax returns.
I'll take the Romney-Ryan-Akin ticket anyday over the Obama-Biden-Marx ticket.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Instead of a convention they should just hand out fliers, that is more info than you will get from Hatefest 2012
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz In reading your comments through out, I am not convinced you a radical Democrat, but a true idiot.
@holmantx They did not build S................................,without others money
@holmantx Their convention is being held in an arena built by the government.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz And there it is - your sickness in full Monty. Shouting it out in public for all to see.
I can only hope that your brethren continue to extol the virtues of the collective over the individual at every turn. That the People through the Public Servant are the true definition of American Exceptionalism.
What you assert is worse than the notion of trying to explain the benefits of legitimate rape. At least Akin apologized.
You remain in a state of pristine cluelessness.
@holmantx "Todd Akin has fallen behind Sen. Claire McCaskill by double digits in the Missouri Senate race, according to a Rasmussen automated phone poll released Thursday." --POLITICO
Read it and weep, boyfriend.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz and yet another one!
Pious ignorance and proud of it.
you go girl.
@holmantx Hee hee. Latest Rasmussen poll has Claire McCaskill up by ten points. Now who's the sick one?
The University of Colorado analysis is out. This analysis is unique in its predictive ability. The model correctly predicted all Presidential elections since 1980.
The most recent University of Colorado (UC) analysis has Mitt Romney the winner of the 2012 Presidential election according to political science professors Kenneth Bickers of UC Boulder and Michael Berry of UC Denver. The predictions were presented in a press release on August 22, 2012, and will appear in PS: Political Science & Politics, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Political Science Association this month and be updated in September.
“According to their analysis President Barack Obama will win 218 votes in the Electoral College, short of the 270 he needs. And though they chiefly focus on the Electoral College, the political scientists predict Romney will win 52.9 percent of the popular vote to Obama’s 47.1 percent, when considering only the two major political parties.”
GOD is very angry at the republicans for their immense hatred of everyone. HE is sending Hurricane Isaac into Tampa to shut down their convention.
Here on the 'ol D-O blogs, most of us just have to treat these threads not as a narrow lane built and policed by a Liberal cop, but as an opportunity to express an opinion why this street and this cop exist in the first place.
Can ya dig it? So here goes:
Romney's one of the good guys on the planet. He was a Governor, a highly successful businessman, and can obviously take a punch, and counter-punch. He can carry the right and will capture the center and disaffected Democrats. He will beat the President. After all, this election will be a plebiscite on Obama's record and where he's dragging the soul of this country.
Romney is the nominee and the next President because he is the most qualified, possesses the most experience, and exhibits the most Leadership. He knows how to lead. He will stand down the regulatory agencies and will not veto what the next Congress must do - which is set a course to balance the budget, repeal Obamacare, and cut spending to restore our credibility so that we will pay our debts without monetizing it. And, of course, you refuse to recognize what I just said however, our national salvation depends upon it - including the wagon riders.
This writer and the morons who mouth the same old braindead slurs would never vote for Romney yet we are treated to a continuous stream of perfumed slants and strawman blog after strawman blog that DO serve a purpose in your world. And that purpose is to provide a platform for you to express displeasure, imply all manner of insult and invective . . . anything but defend the consequences of collectivism. I'm just trying to reach out and explain why self-selecting elitism is such a vacant enterprise. You are engaging in self-righteous masturbation.
What's clear to everyone else is that the the ones you think you speak for are not ideologues like you. Your rank and file are mercenary and practical. In the big scheme of things Romney and Ryan, as flawed as they are, represent a solution to at least sustain the benefits. They won't vote for Romney . . . they just won't vote in the numbers they did in 2008. A sufficient chunk of your troops will remain on the couch. All because you yammered when your leadership should have let the economic horses run. You could have had Obamacare had you fixed the economy first. Instead, you have women cheering a rapist who will be the keynote speaker at your convention.
You don't have any (recognized) idea what I'm talking about. But your rank and file do, for they know how the egg is laid. So . . . You cannot be allowed to sit in your addiction and continue to deny why these Republicans and the TEA Party movement are on the national scene in the first place. Mine is but an early intervention. And help is on the way.
Let it not be a shock when the adults take over for awhile. Just go get in the back seat with Grandma whilst Dad fixes the engine you so royally screwed up.
And don't touch anything!
All true - but will you also be publishing an equally scathing (and entertaining) expose on the Democrats?
@Sotiredofitall why don't you get right on that and write your own article, then.
@Sotiredofitall I was wondering the same thing....
@Sotiredofitall FOX takes care of that every minute of every day.
Richard Nixon. Out of the many, many republican dirt-bags to come down the pike, Nixon was the one... number one.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz And Nixon was proven to be a "dirt bag" doing what, exactly?
He can't touch 0bama, my dear.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz #1 that you knew about, honey.
By the way, MSNBC = FOX. Huffingtonpost = FOX.
It's all crap, and if you are a side-taker, then you are The Problem.
boy, Nixon was #1, and time has not softened this countries disdain for him.
... and who could forget that elephantine bird-brain Veep of his, Spiro Agnew, who coined such alliterative gems as, "nattering nabobs of negativism".
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