CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Republican Phil Heimlich's campaign has its Website up and running. And don't be fooled by the soft blue background colors. He's running from the right side of U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, with Heimlich saying his entire career has been devoted to "sound conservative economic principles." Heimlich says nothing about the War in Iraq, terrorism or supporting President George Bush, the GOP chief executive whose poll numbers have sagged.
It is early, of course, but the former Hamilton County Commissioner obviously has moved to position himself with the evangelicals and social conservatives. While he's blanked out the Bush-Cheney years, Heimlich mentions Dr. John C. Willke, the Cincinnati physician who founded National Right to Life. And Heimlich says he has worked hand-in-hand with Citizens for Community Values -- the group headed by Phil Burress -- to "enact one of the toughest laws in the country keeping strips clubs and porn shops away from schools, homes and churches." That reference harkens back to a Cincinnati zoning ordinance that went on the books during Heimlich's years on the City Council.
About gays, Heimlich describes how he once:
"Served as spokesperson for (the) campaign to oppose special rights based on sexual orientation. When others tried to repeal the City's ban on special rights based on sexual orientation, Phil opposed this repeal and appeared in ads sponsored by Focus on the Family Cincinnati Committee. In these ads, Phil countered the arguments of those fighting to allow special rights." He also notes he, "Received the Citizens for Community Values Community Defender Award. This award reads that it is for Phil's 'commitment to upholding and defending our City's high community values."
For now, Heimlich is stuck in the past. He's not speaking directly about national issues that face Congress. Eventually he'll have to describe his stands on matters such as ethics, global warming, energy prices -- and the war. Overall, Heimlich probably did a poor job of introducing his Congressional campaign to Web audiences. He mouthed old themes about old subjects, and offered nothing new at all. Indeed, he doesn't sound significantly different than Schmidt -- except for one important fact. She's been loyal to the President, and has stuck with him during an increasingly unpopular war. That stand may aid her in the Republican primary because the polls consistently show a majority of party members agree with Bush. Heimlich's Website could hurt because he didn't say what his position was from the very beginning -- Schmidt's supporters can accuse him of dodging, weaving or testing the wind. Indeed, if you read Heimlich's Web site, you wouldn't even know there is a war going on.