National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month to Kick Off at Republican Convention
Washington, DC - Details have leaked regarding a bold plan to recreate public perception of the GOP. A centerpiece of the plan will involve prominent Republicans confessing their weaknesses in an unprecedented catalog of GOP depravity.
In a tacit acknowledgement of the GOP's historical substance abuse problems, National Recovery Month observances will be an important part of the upcoming Republican National Convention. From Rush Limbaugh to Dr. Gary Malakoff, to President Bush himself, compassionate conservatives from all walks of life will be sharing their stories of addiction and recovery.
While many people associate the Democrats with loose morals, the Republicans are themselves no strangers to the wrong side of the tracks. Republicans have sometimes been accused on hypocrisy, as high-profile conservatives have been discovered in a variety of compromising situations while party leadership has adopted a holier-than-thou attitude toward political opponents. "No more," says Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican Party.
"For too long, we've ceded the title of ‘party' party to the Democrats," continued Gillespie. "You are going to be seeing a change. Take [Illinois Republican senatorial candidate] Jack Ryan - he showed that the Democrats don't have a lock on moral depravity - granted, he had to drop out of the race, but we're all proud of the way he took one for the team. We need to create an environment where more Republicans can do the same."
The decision to distance the party from the "Moral Majority" days of the 1980s was reached after Republican leaders undertook a deep analysis of the American electorate. The findings showed a dramatic disconnect between the empty Republican rhetoric of abstinence, "just say no", and moderation and the reality of American life.
Daniel Yankelovich, founder of Public Agenda, a non-partisan public opinion firm, assisted the Republican Party in collecting and analyzing the data. "It became very obvious very quickly that people like to have a good time," said Yankelovich. "They want to make money, get drunk, get laid, etc., etc., etc. Republican leaders, while pursuing many of these goals personally, had stigmatized the pursuit of them by others."
Although the Republicans want to be seen as people who know how to enjoy life, Gillespie pointed out that they still want to be able to claim the moral high-ground. This dual need is what led to the decision to make National Recovery Month observances a part of the GOP Convention.
"For us just to come out and act like ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High' could alienate the traditional Republican base," explained Gillespie. "They may be total reprobates, but their self-image is based on being able to look down on others. So we've crafted an event that we think will reach two audiences - traditional and contemporary Republicans - with very different messages."
For the traditional Republicans, party leaders hope that seeing GOP stalwarts confessing their weakness and relating how they were able to overcome their problems, thanks to "the Lord and their families", will reinforce the image of the party as one of self-sufficiency and pluck. For the contemporary Republicans, it is hoped that they will come away from the event with a new realization of how "cool" it is to be a Republican.
"If we can get the teens and twenties to say, ‘I love to party with Rush,' we'll have made progress," concluded Gillespie.
The Recovery Month observance during the convention will include notable Republicans taking the podium and pouring forth tales of their own depravity, guilt and redemption. The event is scheduled to take place at 8:00 PM EST on Wednesday, September 1. Among those expected to participate are Rush Limbaugh, William Bennett, Jim Bakker, Jack Ryan, Dr.Gary Malakoff, Jimmy Swaggart, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove and President Bush.