Dan Bongino

PHOTO by JENNIFER ALLARD

Former 2012 senatorial candidate Dan Bongino spent Saturday afternoon lunching and conversing with the Talbot County chapter of the Mid-Shore League of Republican Women in Easton. Will he run for governor in 2014? He says, "Stay tuned."

He has said it before: "We are in trouble here in Maryland."

Dan Bongino, a U.S. senatorial candidate in 2012, is sticking to his message. Speaking Saturday before the Mid-Shore League of Republican Women, Bongino talked edgy politics openly and affably over lunch with a small group of Talbot County residents and Republican voters whose main concerns for him centered on health care, the economy, the future of the Republican party in Maryland and the country.

"I think we are unfortunately starting to see, not only at the Senate level, but at the federal level and the congressional level, as well, the ramifications now of what happened in the election," he said. "We are in a near catastrophic position, and I don't use that word lightly. I'm not an alarmist."

Bongino was referring to what he says are more than worrisome evolutions not just in health care, but in the economy, education and national security.

"When are we going to face the reality with this administration that we are at war with people that just are violent savages out to harm us?" he asked, talking about the events of the past week at the Boston Marathon, where two men set off bombs at the finish line that killed three people and injured almost 200 more. "If you don't think (the incident in Boston) has Al Qaeda fingerprints all over it, you're living on Mars."

But national security is not the only topic over which Bongino offered up strong words. He painted a picture of rising health care costs -- estimating people would see as much as an 80 percent increase over the next year. But he said there was more to the changes in health care regulation than met the eye.

Pointing to the language used to shape the new health care laws, Bongino said Obamacare uses complicated terminology to confuse people with things such as "Community Rating," a policy that guarantees everyone the same rate in insurance premiums regardless of the risk factors. Though it sounds fair, he said, it is not. More practically, it means a person who actively pursues an unhealthy lifestyle that likely will cost more in medical and hospital care throughout their lifetime will pay the same rates as a person who actively pursues a healthy lifestyle and spends little or no time in the doctor's office, he said. The reasoning behind it, Bongino said, was to eliminate discrimination in different pricing.

But the economics of such a plan is an ideological fallacy, he said.

"(Obama) is spending money that we don't have on a program that's growing," he said. "He knows the math doesn't exist, so he took the money out of Medicare ... Roughly a trillion dollars. This thing is going to be a disaster, and I think even the Democrats are going to turn on it soon."

The good news is as the field of medicine gains monumental strides in technology, like robotics in the operating room that allow doctors to do more in less time, medical coverage costs should go down, he said.

"The future is actually bright," Bongino said. "I think things are going to change and medicine is moving forward rapidly. There is an exponential growth in this field; the advents you see coming in the next 10 years will bring costs down dramatically."

Bongino said the solution to people's disappointment with the system was not to complain, but to set aside intra-party disagreements and get out the vote. Considering the changes coming with what he called "the 'quadrafecta' of absolutely horrible legislation with the 'rain' tax, gas tax, the death penalty and gun legislation, Bongino said, "The perfect storm is brewing to take the state back. But we have to turn people out."

Of those changes that concerned him most, gun control touched on various areas he said still needed to be addressed in mental health care and the basic rights promised to citizens in the Second Amendment.

Calling gun control a myth that could not be proved in any country, he said protecting a person's privacy through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by keeping the mental health records of an emotionally disturbed person from being made available in the National Instant Check System (NICS) was a mistake. He said taking away everyone's right to carry a gun also was a mistake and a violation of a person's basic freedoms.

"We have to stand for something," he said. "There is a gun violence problem, and we can't get around that. We have to face it. But it is not the fault of the Second Amendment. It's a faulty system. None of our other rights matter if the Second Amendment goes out the window."

Bongino also addressed rumors he might run for governor in 2014. But he said Maryland conservatives had to stop infighting and present a united front in order to put someone in office who could affect change.

"I'm thinking about it," he said. "We don't have a nominal leader, and this is how factions develop. Maryland is in chaos right now, and party leaders have their own plans and agendas."

The key was putting social pressure on party followers to stay focused and unified. He promised if he ran and lost, he would throw in his full support for whoever went forward.

"We have to come together," he said. "Is this is a personality contest? Because if it is, then leave politics; we don't need you. You're only causing the country a problem. But if this a contest to save, literally save, the country, then please get involved."

His future hopes remained with a firm emphasis on "hope" though, he said.

"We'll save it. We always do. We've been in some really bad predicaments, and we always come out of them."

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