Portman Gives Props to Heimlich — Literally

Although it was overshadowed by the recent national Tea Party convention in Nashville, another conservative group recently held a rally that featured several Greater Cincinnati notables in attendance.

Americans for Prosperity’s Ohio chapter held an “Already Taxed to the Max” rally Jan. 30 at Capitol Square in Columbus. Among those attending the event were former Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich; his wife, Rebecca; former Congressman Rob Portman from Terrace Park, who’s running for the U.S. Senate; and members of the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes.—-

With an up to $9 billion deficit looming in Ohio’s next budget cycle, AFP wants to pressure state government to become “more efficient and effective with the tax dollars we already send them,” the group said in a statement. “Raising our taxes again cannot be an option.”

To get its message across to the audience, AFP had a 15-foot tall, inflatable, automated teller machine prop on a sidewalk near the stage, reportedly representing that “Ohio’s taxpayer ATM is closed.”

Stuck with the thankless duty of blowing up the prop was Phil Heimlich, filling the role of political husband to Rebecca, who is AFP’s state director. When Portman took the stage to speak, he referred to Phil by "thanking" the "former county commissioner" for inflating the ATM prop. “He's multi-talented,” Portman quipped.

Not exactly the best shout-out for someone who used to wield actual influence as a Cincinnati city councilman and president of the county commission. “With political allies like those, who needs enemies,” Heimlich surely must be thinking.

Heimlich served one term as a commissioner, losing his reelection bid in 2006 to Democrat David Pepper.

AFP is a conservative group that advocates for limited government and free markets. It was founded in 2004 by David Koch of Koch Industries, a conglomerate with major petroleum and natural gas holdings. One of AFP’s pet causes is opposing the so-called “climate tax,” which is designed to lessen global warming.

Also speaking at the AFP event were Ohio Liberty Council co-founder Jason Rink and State Rep. John Adams, who has introduced a bill to phase out Ohio’s income tax.

After the rally, AFP issued a press release with the headline, “Crowd energized at ‘Already Taxed to the Max Rally.’” As the accompanying video shows, however, the “crowd” consisted of only about 20 people.

So much for grassroots enthusiasm.

See more highlights of the rally here.

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