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Thursday, August 16, 2007

OH-02's Republican Phil Heimlich: His New Web Presence Is Anti-Gay, Anti-Tax, Pro-Life

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.


  1. The first impression you get is all about money.


    Can't be a terribly effective message right out of the box especially when you see that you cannot donate via the website.

  2. Hi Paul --

    It's a crummy start. I just thought his issues were flat and stale as a yeard old cake. I mean, he's talking about things like an asphalt plant in Cincinnati and his days on the city council. Wouldn't it have been more powerful to produce a policy statement saying he's going to be a thorn in Nancy Pelosi's side, he's going to watch her every move. Or that he'll bring back representation in Washington to the 2nd district -- he'll be aggressive to make sure his chunk of Ohio counts for something in the Capitol. He'll stand up for Oh-02. Some kind of message that implies Schmidt is ineffective and that he can get the job done; something short, powerful and that explains or points to why a change is needed.

  3. I agree with you, Bill. What jumps out is that the city council/conservative values stuff he's touting is something like ten years old! What happened to his last four years on the county commission? Also, Heimlich doesn't say what he's doing for a living. By all indications, he's been unemployed since getting voted out last Nov. Why doesn't some law firm hire him with all his fancy pedigree?

  4. The River Hag probably had a tougher opponent in the well-seasoned Bob McEwen.

    I doubt seriously Heimlich can do anything with her.

  5. Heimlich's four years as a county commissioner produced nothing. Economic development in the county stagnated; he failed to delivery on issues of public safety; and he routinely voted against measures to aid veterans even though funding the county Veterans' Services Commission was a county commission responsibility.

    Despite his "Budget Hawk" rhetoric, Heimlich voted for double digit rate hikes at the county sewer department without so much as an hour's worth of scrutiny of their budget. He introduced and supported a new property tax to save a building and he proposed a new ten year sales tax hike.

    He was a do-nothing commissioner who campaigned for re-election in 2006 on his accomplishments as a city council member.

    He raided the county surplus funds and failed to introduce real budget discipline to such a degree that the current commission inherited an almost bankrupt county and is facing a $30 million deficit.

    The only good news here is if he wins he will be able to remain anonymously useless as 1 of 435 congressmen.