A few weeks ago, I moved from West Virginia back to Montgomery County in Maryland, where I had previously lived from 1992 through 2006. Maryland is a solid Democratic state, and therefore Republicans have written it off and the president has no need to campaign in it. So what conservative would even bother to run for Senate in such a liberal state, one in which Michael Steele, a former lieutenant governor in the state, lost to current Senator Ben Cardin by 54 percent to 44 percent?
The answer is Dan Bongino, whom I was privileged to hear speak before a packed meeting today in Silver Spring, Maryland. I predict Bongino will be another one of those rising stars in the Republican Party, a man who is able to produce in an audience the kind of passion and enthusiasm that we have seen for stars like Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan. Like both of these men, Bongino has the knack for explaining and defending conservative policies and programs in a way that people can understand without demonizing his opponents — he makes clear it is their policies, not them, that he opposes.
Go to his website and watch the video of him in action, and you’ll catch a glimpse of how he talks to people. In his speech today, Bongino stressed how different this election is than previous ones. He mentioned that while he voted for Bob Dole, he did not think it was a catastrophe that Bill Clinton won a second term. After all, he said, Clinton did some good things with Republican support, and some things he opposed. But the republic lasted, and the country continued to thrive. This election, he said, was something different: the choice is between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, who, he posited, is an “ideologue” who sees things differently than most people.
A former Secret Service officer in the elite Presidential Protection Division during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Bongino said he would have given his life for Obama if need be, and that he considers himself a decent person and a good family man. But he said he entered the race for one reason alone: he believes the policies of the Obama administration are wrong for the country he loves, and he felt compelled to not leave it to others to put America back on the right course. So this former Secret Service officer, who was the lead agent coordinating Obama’s trips to Prague, Jakarta, and the war zone in Afghanistan, has decided to enter the race against the president he served with distinction.