John Arthur Eaves' campaign was gaining some traction. He came up with some good proposals and he came across as sincere. He criticized some of Gov. Haley Barbour's programs and his handling of Hurricane Katrina's recovery efforts. He also criticized Barbour's relatives getting "sweetheart" contracts for recovery work. Eaves was behind, but his economic populism and conservative social stances was getting him some momentum.
Then came "The Bible" commercial. If there was any turning point in the campaign, it was that commercial. In the TV ad, Eaves is holding up a Bible and talking about the differences between Barbour and him. He went on how Barbour serves the powerful and the "moneychangers" while Eaves served the little people. He said he and Barbour were lawyers, but they used their legal expertise for totally different reasons. All that time, Eaves was clutching and prominently showing his Bible. To say the least, I thought the commercial was fit for the trash can. I'm a very fundamentalist Baptist, but I resent it when a shown Bible is used for political purposes. Mr. Eaves, have you no decency?
I was turned off by that commercial. However, I am not alone. I talked to folks in my Sunday School class plus some of my friends I saw at Wal-Mart where I shop. One person who was leaning towards Eaves switched to Barbour because of Eaves' using the Bible for political purposes. What turned him off was using the Bible to bash Barbour. This person has about six people in his family and they were all turned off by Eaves.
Eaves' criticism of Mike Espy was in poor taste. Admittedly, it was a body blow to the Eaves campaign, since the Espy name is big in black political circles and Eaves needs a near-unanimous black vote to have a chance to defeat Barbour. Now an endorsement is not going to swing a large amount of votes, but Espy's endorsement will give Barbour a little traction in the black community. Calling those Democrats who endorsed Barbour "moneychangers" and wondering what they would get in return was a cheap remark. (In all fairness, Barbour will not get 20% of the black vote. If he did, he would cream Eaves on Election Day. However, I do think he'll get more than the 5-6% he received in 2003. He could get as much as 12% of the vote. My guess is he'll get 8-10% of the vote.)
Maybe it's just me, but Eaves' TV commercials are getting more shrill and are basically Barbour-bashing narratives. Eaves should debate Barbour's health care proposals in his ads. He should state he would do all he could to pass the tobacco--grocery tax swap. Barbour's basically been running a positive campaign (I know he's knocked Eaves' suing the military, but he could really tear him apart for being a high-falutin' ambulance chaser.) stressing more jobs and his leadership during Hurricane Katrina.
In an earlier post, I predicted Eaves would get between 44-47% of the vote. Today, I think he would get between 41-44% of the vote. There are two weeks left and two weeks in politics is a political eternity. But Eaves has done one thing for me: He's solidified my vote for Barbour.