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A Failed Crusade To Shut Down A Louisiana Strip Club Is What Inspired New House Speaker/Weirdo Mike Johnson To Get Into Politics, Because Of Course

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When he was named Speaker of the House less than a month ago, Mike Johnson may have seemed like an AI Republican. After reporters scrambled to find out who he was, they learned he was more like Ned Flanders on steroids. The Louisiana representative has been desperately trying to scrub a long history of anti-LGTBQIA+ rhetoric, in between trying to oversee a party so chaotic they couldn’t even stomach Kevin McCarthy. There’s still much unknown about him, but would you be surprised that his origin story involves trying to shutter a strip club?

A new report by The Washington Post details how a young Johnson, four years out of law school, set his sights on stopping a club called Deja Vu from opening in Streveport, which he would he would later represent. Worked up over a late night research session, Johnson shlepped out to a city council meeting, imploring local lawmakers to put the kibosh on what he called another “SOB,” or a “sexually oriented business.”

Alas, Johnson’s pitch ended in failure. But in a way it was a win. After all, it’s what inspired him to move from law into politics, transforming him into a culture warrior:

“This is when Mike arrived on the scene,” said Scott Sinclair, a Shreveport attorney involved in unsuccessful litigation against the strip club. “It’s very consistent with his character, from what I’ve seen. Mike’s got a very strong faith-based position. He’s a Christian, and he doesn’t mind anybody knowing that.”

How big does the failed strip club battle loom in Johnson’s legend? So much so that the Alliance Defense Fund, the Christian nonprofit he joined after the spat. In 2003, the ADF even turned the career shift into myth: They cut a radio ad in which Johnson returned home one evening to inform his wife that, due to the aborted strip club battle, he was forced to make a decision: give up that fight or lose his job at his law firm. He chose the latter.

Thing is, a colleague at said firm claimed that wasn’t true:

Don Armand, a partner at the Shreveport firm where Johnson had been working, said the claim that he was required to leave because of his advocacy against the strip club is inaccurate. “Mike was not fired, or asked to leave our firm or forced out in any way,” Armand, who worked with Johnson at the firm Pettiette, Armand, Dunkelman, Woodley & Cromwell, wrote in an email.

Instead, Johnson simply told them he wanted to return to the ADF, for whom he’d already worked. “It was his career choice,” Armand said.

Johnson went on to work for the ADF for eight years, where he was given a national platform to denounce issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

What’s more, Johnson’s case against the Deja Vu strip club was bunk:

In a four-page “Legal Analysis,” which was obtained by The Post, Johnson argued that the city could revoke the construction permit granted to the club because of its proximity to a planned but not yet constructed railroad museum. A city ordinance barred “sexually oriented businesses” from operating within 1,000 feet of a “nonprofit educational museum,” and Johnson argued that the railroad museum would qualify.

He later argued that the city had authority to block Deja Vu because of its proximity to a plot of land said to be designated for a public park.

Bradley Shafer, a Michigan-based lawyer who represented the club’s owners, said Johnson’s analysis represented a “deliberate misreading” of the city’s rules and foreshadowed his “disdain for the rule of law,” referring to his leading role in the congressional effort to reverse the results of the 2020 election.

“He doesn’t care about the truth,” Shafer said. “He misquoted and misconstrued the city’s statute. His view was that his religion and his view of God entitled him to do anything he wanted.”

Since scoring his new gig, Johnson has been trying to pass himself as a nice and normal and unthreatening bureaucrat who tolerates those who don’t share his views. Instead it seems like he’s worse: a reactionary who’s bad at his job, who can’t even block a strip club, and who now lords over a chamber that’s turned into the WWE.

(Via WaPo)