Hold Steady, Ybor City: The Republican National Convention Eyes Tampa [UPDATED]
Today's big rumor is that the 2012 Republican National Convention is going to be held in Tampa, Florida -- as opposed to the other proposed sites, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. No announcement has been made yet, but it's fair to say, "Signs point to yes."
Salt Lake City, Utah:
Why not Salt Lake? Weigel suggests that the GOP might want to avoid a Mormon overload: "As long as Mitt Romney remains the man to beat in 2012, the prospect of a convention in the home of the Mormon church is, rightly or wrongly, worrying to many Republicans." Allen says that "operatives" tell him that going to Utah would be seen as "a sign of retreat...hunkering down in one of the nation's whitest states."
I say: You ever been to one of these conventions? People want to booze it up, at all hours, for the thinnest of reasons, as much as humanly possible. Not exactly the Salt Lake way.
Uhm...have you heard about this crazy new immigration law they have there? Weigel says it's an "obvious political problem." Allen's operatives say that "Arizona in late August reminds Republicans of their sweltering 1992 convention in Houston."
I say: Well...I'm not entirely sure Republicans have quite the downcast view of Houston. After all, it was the venue for Reagan's last major political speech. Plus, it was probably the last time they could indulge themselves in a crazy, red-meat "culture war" speech from Pat Buchanan. I'll go along with the "obvious political problem" that Arizona poses -- in that placing the convention smack dab in the center of Arpaioville will pretty much guarantee that the GOP will lose the Hispanic vote -- all of it.
Years on from the 2000 election, Florida remains a state in which the GOP is looking to forge a new identity. Weigel suggests that if you "envision a keynote address by a Senator Marco Rubio or a Congressman Allen West," it becomes "easy to figure out why Republicans might like this this option."
I say: If Salt Lake City is Squaresville, as far as getting liquored up and crazy impaired is concerned, Tampa is the exact opposite. As the Hold Steady sings, repeatedly, Tampa's Ybor City is "tres speedy and throws such killer parties." How killer? Apparently, in Ybor City, you can count on being "up to your neck in sweat and wet confetti." There, people are "jamming jetskis into the jetty...with some guy who looks like Rocco Sefredi." Basically, BEST REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION EVER.
Also, Tampa is known as "is known as the cradle of death metal." So, if you've longed for a chance to see Sarah Palin at a Morbid Angel show, this is probably your only chance.
Beyond all that, Ben Smith has the answer:
Paul Allen, the founder and publisher of NightMoves magazine, says he hears about the city's reputation all the time. He believes the shear number of strip clubs in the Bay area has undoubtedly contributed to the city's rep.
"In greater Tampa Bay, I think the last count is around 56 different clubs that are adult-oriented," he said.
Another reason for the reputation is the city's role in the adult industry. "If you own a club in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and you want to book a feature (dancer) to come to your club, there's basically four people you can call. Three of those four companies are based right here in Tampa," Allen said.
But the biggest reason for Tampa's lap dance reputation is because of an ordinance the city enacted about 10 years ago. Called the "six foot rule," it requires customers to stay six feet from the dancers....
Michael Steele's RNC is all about it, believe me. So I'd say it's a safe bet that you can book your hotel rooms in Tampa today. Hopefully, by 2012, they'll have all of British Petroleum's oil cleaned up!
UPDATE: No doubt sold on the strippers, Dave Weigel reports that the RNC has "unanimously recommended Tampa as the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention."