Tampa Strip Clubs Versus the “Mormon Moment”

Politico is pleased to tell us that the “GOP Hopes to Stay out of Trouble in Tampa“:

House Republicans are officially worried that lawmakers and staffers will stray off the straight-and- narrow path at the GOP convention in Tampa this month.

With the advent of cell phones, anyone can be an opposition tracker, so members should be wary of doing anything questionable in public, Rep. Pete Sessions, the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, warned fellow Republicans at a Capitol Hill meeting Wednesday.

“Let’s say you are going to have a cup of coffee. Perhaps, it’s a late night cup of coffee. Be careful,” the Texas Republican said at a conference committee meeting, according to several sources who attended…

Coffee, of course, is one of the many adult beverages which presumptive nominee Willard “Mitt” Romney does not drink. There is reason to believe some of his fellow Republicans lack such stern moral fibre. Politico finds one of them:

Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele said he wasn’t surprised there were worries.

“People get uptight about that stuff,” Steele said. “The Romney campaign is going to want a convention that is going to be much more reflective of his style.”

Steele knows firsthand how a scandal can cause issues for a political brand. He was ultimately lost his bid for another term as head of the party committee after news reports revealed that the RNC paid for donors at a strip club.

Steele, who said he didn’t want to “comment on anybody and their extracurricular activities,” said if convention officials tried to stop strip clubs from doing business, it could lead to even more harmful stories.

“People have an opportunity to make some money, take advantage of all these visitors coming to Tampa for five days or more, and so I don’t blame them for that,” he added…

Shorter Steele: Why does the Romney campaign want to punish America’s small businessmen, and women, in the hard-hit adult entertaiment sector?

And yet somehow one doubts that the restless Republican delegates will be satisfied with the sort of respectful family-friendly “pagentry and spectacle” described by the snoopy secularists at TNR:

As darkness fell on the wooded slopes of the Hill Cumorah on Friday, July 20, hundreds of costumed performers made their way through a crowd of Mormon faithful and a handful of non-Mormon onlookers. They had gathered at the birthplace of the Mormon religion—Mormons believe that Joseph Smith, with the guidance of the Angel Moroni, first found the gold plates of the Book of Mormon buried on the hillside—in order to witness the penultimate performance of the seventy-fifth annual Hill Cumorah Pageant, which consists of scenes from the Mormon scripture, such as “The Resurrected Christ Appears to Ancient Americans.”

The Pageant is a Broadway-style event (last year, a critic compared it to “Spider Man”), with a volunteer cast of 750, a score featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, elaborate lighting, overwrought costumes, and detailed choreography. Every July come Pageant time, an infusion of visitors who outnumber the local population many times over “provides a real shot in the arm for the local economy,” according to Beth Hoad, a longtime dairy farmer and historian of the nearby town of Palmyra, NY, where the Smith family farmhouse is located….

Despite its missionary ambitions, in practice the pageant is an insular 
LDS event, and it was unsurprising to discover that the Mormons who 
attended the spectacle were not closely attuned to outside attention. Hardly anyone at all was eager to discuss the spotlight that Mitt Romney’s campaign has directed towards their religion. “I don’t feel any different as a Mormon now than I did before,” said RJ Mattei, recently returned to Dallas from his mission in Salt Lake City. “But it’s honestly hard to say. It’s totally separate from anything I pay attention to.” Numbers from recent Pew polls do, in fact, suggest that Americans, even as they become more accepting of Mormons, aren’t learning (and aren’t interested in learning) much about Mormon beliefs. In reciprocation, the Mormons I met at the pageant have decided to tune out all of the newfound attention, insisting almost unanimously that they do not feel substantially different about themselves or their place in society now that one of their co-religionists is on the precipice of becoming president….

Back in D.C., I called Orson Scott Card, who wrote the script for the pageant. He is best known as the author of Ender’s Game, a science fiction classic about a child prodigy who battles aliens (Mitt Romney’s favorite novel, according to the Washington Post). A devout Mormon, Card rejected the idea that 2012 is positive time for the LDS Church. “The Romney candidacy is potentially a disaster for the things that matter most for the Church,” he said. “That last thing we need is for people around the world seeing the Church as an instrument of American foreign policy. We have enough trouble as it is getting our missionaries into countries that have bad relationship with America.”

I asked him why the Mormons at the pageant seemed so impervious to politics. “It’s not that we don’t care,” he said. “It’s that we don’t care as Mormons.” In the pageant parking lot, I saw license plates from 33 states, but not a single Romney bumper sticker.

You know, it’s almost begining to seem as though nobody much likes Mitt Romney, or cares about his hopes and dreams…

38 replies
  1. 1
    JGabriel says:

    Orson Scott Card:

    That last thing we need is for people around the world seeing the [Mormon] Church as an instrument of American foreign policy. …

    … What we really want is for America to be an instrument of Mormon policy.


  2. 2
    Narcissus says:

    Is “cup of coffee” some kind of code?

    i don’t speak Sexually Repressed, so I don’t know

  3. 3
    Schlemizel says:

    @Narcissus: Yes it is! Its right up there with “hiking the Appalachian Trail” and having a “wide stance” I believe “having a late night cup of coffee” is slipping singles into the g-string of a dusky hued dance in hopes of being favored with a “lap dance”

    But I’m not really up on current RNC terms – it could be Rush’s term for the Dominican rent boys he so enjoys

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    “But she really did tell me she had Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate folded up in there.”

    On topic of Tampa, off topic of strip joints: the Romneyville tent enclave created by protesters inside the ‘restricted zone’ so far has the law on their side.

  5. 5
    sb says:


    “But she really did tell me she had Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate folded up in there.”

    Maybe it’s the hour but I laughed loud enough to wake the neighbors at that one.

  6. 6
    Citizen_X says:

    Why does the Romney campaign want to punish America’s…adult entertaiment sector?


  7. 7
    c u n d gulag says:

    Maybe it ain’t the coffee they’re worrying about – but asking for ‘cream’ on the side?

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    Maybe next week someone will send in pictures of their gardens so I can ooh, and aah while drinking my coffee. Discussing the Republican convention can only give me acid indigestion.

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  13. 13
    Jay C says:



    To the point, perhaps: but wouldn’t “Mittsburgh” do just as well?

  14. 14
    JPL says:

    Raven, Thanks. Your pictures are beautiful.

  15. 15
    Schlemizel says:

    @Jay C: I assume its a play on Hooverville but I like Mittsburgh a lot better – thanks for the laugh!

  16. 16
    tjmn says:

    But…but, aren’t the Repugs job creators and for small business? It seems to me that includes the strip clubs.

  17. 17
    kay says:

    The funnest people to talk to at the Democratic convention were the Democrats from red states.
    Arkansas Democrats were absolutely hilarious about Mike Huckabee. They think Huckabee has a national reputation that is at odds with reality, they believe NONE of it, not the “charm”, not the religiousity, not even the weight loss story. They think he had weight loss surgery and they have all these dates and clues and such to back it up.
    Texas Democrats are also rabidly anti-Republican and really, really funny.
    There’s something about being in a political minority that makes people really open up when they’re among others of the same persuasion.
    The Massachusetts Republican delegation will be defensive about Romney. They’d be fun to talk to at this thing.

  18. 18
    aimai says:


    Somehow I doubt that the MA Republicans even get invited to this thing. Or, I suspect, they are given pride of place down near the porta-potties. Mitt fucked the MA republicans over but good,and they live lives of pretty obvious shame most of the time anyway. They deserve to be attacked from both sides and they must know its going to happen at the convention. I would pity them, except that I hate them.


  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The TNR guy should have asked Card about the “White Horse Prophecy”.

    The notion that a Mormon will be elected President and transform the entire country into a Mormon theocracy.

    Pretty much in defiance of the Constitution.

    The fundies will rise in revolt if such a thing were attempted.

    Not that they give a shit about the Constitution (and the First Amendment to it) mind you.

    THEY are the ones who are supposed to be imposing a theocracy…not that cult.

  20. 20
    WereBear says:

    It’s a shame, really, because the Mormon religion is something the public should know more about.

    Just as there should be some examination, such as goes on at The Slacktivist, regarding the incredible wrong turn certain branches of Christianity are pursuing, wherein they are becoming the religion of hate.

    It’s strange that, for something so ostensibly important to all of us (for Mormons and Evangelicals proselytize) is openly discussed so rarely.

  21. 21
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: Wow. Just wow. Do you have a website where all your hawaii photos are posted?

  22. 22
    kay says:


    I was wondering about that. Do Utah Republicans get the good seats? You know they will, but why? I love how we’re all pretending that Mitt Romney was just chosen to run the Salt Lake City games on pure merit, because we have to whisper “Mormon”. I bet Romney adopts Michigan as his favorite state and abandons both Utah and Massachusetts. It’s better for HIM.

  23. 23
    HRA says:

    IOW the convention goers have to conform to Willard’s habits. If they stray, it will be some Democrats doing them dirty.
    Really? They forgot about Vitter and his ilk?

    Even more seriously I greatly detest anyone of any religion making religious choices for our country. Are they so blinded?
    It’s past time this was out in the open.

  24. 24
    kay says:


    I think it’s a double standard.
    Obama has had to endure endless discussion of “the black church” and no one seems to be even slightly uncomfortable analyzing that to death.
    It wasn’t just Wright, either.
    How many times have you seen. “The black church” and same sex marriage discussed, in relation to Obama?
    So it’s perfectly fine for political media to pontificate on black churches that they
    know NOTHING about, but any discussion of Romney’s religion is off limits.
    If they’re going to discuss the candidates’ religion, it should apply to BOTH
    candidates, and the deference they show
    to religion in general should also apply to
    “the black church”.
    But they don’t, and it doesn’t.

  25. 25
    Lurking Canadian says:

    I was living in Philadelphia when the Republican convention came through. Entire forests were sacrificed to provide enough newsprint for all the ads for strippers, hookers and every other sort of sex worker. The local free paper was two or three times its normal size.

    Republican delegates might in fact be going out for late-night cups of coffee, but if they are, it’s to help them stay awake between hookers #3 and #4.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Lurking Canadian:

    all the ads for strippers, hookers and every other sort of sex worker.

    Sex dwarfs?

  27. 27
    PaulW says:

    I wish people would stop harping on Tampa’s “notorious” reputation of a strip club haven.

    We DO have other things in town to enjoy, such as… no wait, that restaurant closed last week… and that theater’s shuttered until they find another wealthy patron… the beaches are getting cleaned up after the tropical storm that blew through here… And… um… well, there’s Busch Gardens, yeah! Okay, whew, thank God for expensive theme parks!

  28. 28

    @Omnes Omnibus: you got a problem with that?!

  29. 29
    ExurbanMom says:

    @PaulW: Well, it’s not for nothing that Magic Mike was set in Tampa, right? “Cock-Rocking Kings of Tampa,” indeed.

  30. 30
    Joy says:

    Strip clubs are people too, my friend.

  31. 31
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    “The Romney campaign is going to want a convention that is going to be much more reflective of his style.”

    Thus: no booze or strippers or coffee, but you’d better keep both hands on your wallet.

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @soonergrunt (nexus 7): I don’t judge other people’s personal lives if they don’t judge mine.

  33. 33
    maya says:

    Nonsense. There will be so much ribald revelry in Tampa Bay, so many bottles of vi-a-gra swilled and spilled that the flaccid, dripping penis of Florida will end up perpendicular to Georgia.

  34. 34
    Ejoiner says:

    You know I used to come here for the insightful political commentary. Now it’s just for the scathing/funny lines. This thread is golden*!

    *not a veiled sexual reference

  35. 35
    WereBear says:

    @kay: You are absolutely right; It’s Okay If You Are a Whitebread Person Dressed For Church and Ready for a Fifties Sitcom.

    Miss any of those checkboxes, and it’s soooooooooooooo weeeeeeeeeeeeeird.

    And of course, it’s all surface. I should know; I was raised Southern Baptist, and turned my back by tenth grade. You know; the church who doesn’t sue Westboro for using the Baptist name. The one formed to encourage slavery.

  36. 36
    boctaoe says:

    I don’t think they are printing Romney stickers just yet. If enough Repubs cross their fingers, click their heels or something like that, maybe Romney won’t get the nomination.

  37. 37
    Countme In says:

    I posted this in comments at OBWI (citing Balloon Juice), but what the hoohah, maybe you guys want to read it, too:

    The mother of all conventions with the most flagrant presentation of angelism/bestialism in the history of patty-fingered American incoherency is right around the corner, and the angelic/beastial organizers are worried sick.

    Word is out that powerful cracker Right-Wing bloggers from Confederate strongholds like Macon, Georgia might put their pious mouths where only rich Republicans like Jenna Jamison have feared to bite, and it might look bad to the Tea Party faithful back home who have been licking up their candidates’ pieties like so many Koch Brothers.

    They’ve got to keep their eyes on the battle of “ideas”, don’t you know, like making sure those without health insurance are murdered by lifting entire passages from “Atlas Shrugged” and setting them down verbatim into unambiguous law.

    As Jesus intoned: “Again I tell you, it will be easier for your dromedary to go through a glory hole than for a rich man to enter his off-shore, tax-dodging accounts in Barbados under a second term for the Commie Kenyan.”

    From the Prosperity Gospel, Book of Rand.

    One does relish the spectacle of corrupt filth fanning out into the environs of Tampa
    and undertaking job creation among the dispossessed who are going to be on their knees for the duration of the Republican future to earn the moolah they will need to shop for cures to the STDs the Republican vermin faithful gave them.

    Michael Steele is thinking of distributing harassment vouchers among the Republican men so they may shop around to cop the cheapest feel available.

    He doesn’t know whether to sprinkle holy water over the proceedings or spray the joint with Lysol.

  38. 38
    lightning says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: From the Mormons I’ve known, no caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco. As to strippers and other forms of non-chemical whoopie, no limits.

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