GOP Convention: Storms, strippers and elephant poop

Workers are putting up a security fence around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, site of next week's Republican National Convention.
Workers are putting up a security fence around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, site of next week's Republican National Convention. (JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES)
Posted: August 24, 2012

IT COULD have been worse for the Republican Party.

It could have scheduled its convention for Mobile.

Throughout the day Thursday, tracking maps for Tropical Storm Isaac (Republicans don't call it "Ike," not in the tea-party era) from the National Weather Service suggested that although TSI will strengthen to a hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf, it's also drifting west toward Alabama and may deliver only a glancing blow to Tampa Bay and the rest of Florida.

The four-day Republican convention - a long-awaited political coronation for GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan - is slated to kick off Monday afternoon, right as Isaac, which is lashing Puerto Rico with high winds and drenching rains, will be churning off the Sunshine State. Ironically, much of Day 1 of the 2008 Republican confab in St. Paul, Minn., was scrubbed because of concerns related to Hurricane Gustav striking the Gulf.

Earlier in the day Thursday, MSNBC weather guy Bill Karins made headlines by declaring that "Monday and Tuesday are definitely in jeopardy." That would put Isaac on a collision course with a different force of nature: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the keynote speaker on opening night.

But GOP leaders - perhaps inspired by the Bush 43 administration's penchant for preparedness, from the aftermath of the Iraq invasion to the streets of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward - insist that they have a hurricane plan for Tampa. The Tampa Bay Times said that party boss Reince Priebus told early arrivals "that raincoats and ponchos will be made available to delegates."

Strippers determined to strike inside Tampa


This is how CNN expressed its concern about the weather - with a story headlined: "Strippers look to GOP to 'make it rain.' "

Journalists love the famous line from "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" that "when the facts become legend, print the legend." But in the era of cable news, when the politics become boring, film the strippers. Here's your moment of all-nude Zen:

"The joint is all mirrors, throbbing music, flashing neon and spotlights. Voluptuous young women wearing G-strings, stiletto heels and not much else teeter over the spanking new, Day-Glo acid trip of a carpet. But there's no liquor served here, because in Tampa they can't offer both booze and totally naked women under the same roof."

'Sheriff Joe' to meet his match . . . in dung


They tell us it's all happening at the zoo. In Tampa this week, "it" includes the controversial anti-immigration Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Phoenix's Maricopa County, whose outspoken views and ongoing run-ins with the U.S. Justice Department make him too hot for the hockey arena where the RNC takes place. But, according to Politico, Arpaio is just right for the elephant compound at Lowry Park Zoo, where he speaks to some delegates next Thursday. (Elephants . . . Republicans . . . get it?)

Unlike Arpaio's detainees, the elephants won't be forced to wear humiliating pink underwear.

Contact Will Bunch at or 215-854-2957. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Bunch. Read his blog at

comments powered by Disqus