It's time for the little big show here in Washington, since the midterm elections are never quite as big a show as the big big show, which is a presidential election day. However, the presidential election does officially start at sunrise tomorrow, to hang in there. We will, of course, be looking for signs of the "values voter" collapse today -- since that has been the template for much of the MSM over the past few weeks.
Listen for two or three key stats: (1) note the "pew gap" in the voting patterns of people who are most active in traditional forms of religion; (2) note the factor of marriage and, in particular, the percentage of parents with children who swing to the Democrats; (3) watch Tennessee and Virginia, to see if the new old Bible Belt Democrats play well; and (4) pay attention to the religion factor in Maryland's election for U.S. senator and, in particular, see if many African American churchgoers swing over and commit heresy by voting for Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (an African American Catholic) in the race against Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin.
This will be a hard day for me to write, since I teach all day and I have a Scripps Howard News Service column -- non-election related, due to the lead-time factor -- due tomorrow morning, as well.
But let me pass along what I think is the most amazing political quote that I have heard in a long, long time. It comes from that Washington Times story by reporter Jon Ward that young master Daniel mentioned yesterday.
With Cardin sitting in the front pew, the Rev. Delman L. Coates used this image in his remarks to 1,500 members of his flock at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, in Clinton. You'll need to sit down before you read this one.
Mr. Coates preached that voting for Mr. Steele would be like voting to free the thief Barabbas instead of Jesus. In the gospels, Pontius Pilate asks a Jewish crowd whether he should free Jesus Christ or Barabbas, and the crowd shouts for Barabbas to be freed, and for Jesus to be crucified.
Mr. Coates implied that black people who vote for Mr. Steele would be deceived just like the crowd that shouted to crucify Jesus. He said people who supported Barabbas could be called "Barablicans," and people who were for Jesus could be called "Jesuscrats."
"Can't you just see the commercials that were designed to endear Barabbas to the crowd?" he said. "I can just see [Barablicans] well dressed, well groomed [and] holding a puppy."
The reference to one of Mr. Steele's TV ads, which have featured Mr. Steele holding a puppy, drew laughter from the congregation and prompted several worshipers to stand and applaud.
We do not know, of course, if the pastor -- seconds before making this remark -- said something like this: "Now, I realize that I cannot endorse a candidate from this pulpit. I also can't speak for this church. But, just speaking for myself, I think that this whole Senate race reminds me of a painful scene in the New Testament. You know the one, the one where . . ."
Was this an endorsement? And where is this quote in the rest of the Washington media? Try to imagine a pastor -- black or white -- on the other side of the race using this kind of language without anyone noting it.
That's an amazing quote. Does anyone have a stronger one from a mainstream figure in this election year?