STEVENSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Having learned about politics first-hand during his time safeguarding two U.S. presidents, Republican Daniel Bongino thinks he is ready to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Bongino, a 36-year-old Severna Park resident and former New York City police officer and Secret Service agent, is running in the 2012 election for the seat held by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.
Cardin is expected to seek a second six-year term in office.
In an interview Wednesday, Bongino called his 12 years in the Secret Service and his time on the personal security details of presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush a great experience and the closest thing to being in politics without actually being an elected official.
Bongino resigned his Secret Service post in May after deciding to make a serious bid for Senate. He said his decision stemmed from his frustration with politics and from the support he received from his wife, friends and coworkers.
“I think the Republican wave we’ve had over the last two years has shown a frustration with the status quo,” Bongino said.
Bongino is tired of career politicians and questions what Cardin has done for the state since first taking a political office in 1967. He has no personal gripe with Cardin, but said Maryland is hemorrhaging jobs while people are paying more and more in taxes.
Bongino said he is prepared for the Senate based on his world travels and leadership role in the Secret Service and the political discussions to which he was privy. He also lists his masters in business administration from Penn State University as his additional qualifications.
“I’ve been in the White House five years. Now granted, am I making policy in the White House? No. But make no mistake, when you’re out on the road representing the president of the United States there is a policy statement there as well,” Bongino said.
Bongino’s campaign platform is focused on three areas of reform: the economy, health care and education. He said he is tired of the failed policies of liberal politicians based on ideology instead of facts.
Bongino thinks Obama’s economic stimulus plan and the idea that government can prime the economic pump have failed and now is the time to move on. He said it is time to put the economic power back into the hands of the people.
“I promise you, they’re looking for a path to prosperity. They don’t need the government to help them along,” Bongino said.
Bongino wants a flatter or fairer tax code, one not riddled with questionable deductions, subsidies and crony capitalism.
He said the country needs to abolish the income tax and move towards one based on consumption.
Bongino said Obama’s health care reform act will exponentially exasperate problems in the medical system and take away control from seniors and low-income earners. He said he hears now medicine is so expensive no one can afford it, but that to him makes no sense from an economic standpoint.
“How can you possibly have a price of a product or a service that no one can afford? It doesn’t make any sense. When you think about it, why are there no Rolls Royce factories in Haiti? There are no Rolls Royce factories in Haiti because no one can afford it. It just doesn’t make economic sense,” Bongino said.
Bongino said the government is injecting itself as a third party vendor and needs to be removed from the relationship between medical providers and consumers, which makes people not at all concerned about price. He said the lack of price competition has led to medical costs spiraling out of control.
Bongino plans to advocate for giving parents the ability to choose what schools their children attend. He questioned why wealthy liberals who say they believe in the public school system often opt to send their children to private schools.
As for the current debates on raising the federal government’s debt ceiling by Aug. 2 or risk default, Bongino said federal officials must first focus on cutting spending. He said raising the debt ceiling will do nothing to alleviate the bond market’s concerns over the federal government.
Bongino likened the situation to a person with maxed out credit cards and owing on all his or her assets and income. He said if such a person were to ask for an increase in his or her credit limit, the credit card company would just laugh and hang up the phone.
“This is the fight. This is the line in the sand right now. What do you believe in? Do you believe in the power of the individual or do you believe in the power of government? There’s a bigger argument here than just the debt ceiling,” Bongino said.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)