On the eve of the Republican National Convention, GOP officials for the first time released a detailed convention schedule and, not surprisingly, it has a heavy emphasis on the key swing states in the election. Still, it’s impressive to see how no detail is left to chance. Even the choice of Pledge of Allegiance reciters and national anthem singers is tailored with battleground states in mind. Four of the five pledge leaders and an identical share of anthem singers who will speak at the convention live in states that are still up for grabs. Indeed, the smattering of good home-town publicity for such an honor can do nothing but help President Bush’s re-election efforts. So why waste a Pledge of Allegiance on a state that is sure to go for or against the President?
The same formula obviously wasn’t applied to the convention’s faith-related honors: invocation and benediction speakers. Only one of ten religious leaders lives in a swing state. Then again, devoutly religious Americans are overwhelmingly for Bush already, so there’s little to be gained by picking a pastor from Des Moines or Milwaukee.