As the saying goes, when you’re hot, you’re hot. Right now, conservative commentator Dan Bongino is sizzling. On Monday, May 24, Fox debuted the livestream of the spanking new radio program The Dan Bongino Show via its subscription channel. And the rising star proceeded to christen his inaugural episode with none other than former President Donald J. Trump as his guest.
Trump and Bongino constitute a dream team for those in the America First camp. But it is what Bongino represents that makes his new show so significant: the new Rush Limbaugh.
Of course, many a Republican will tell you there will never be anyone to take Rush’s place. One might expect fierce competition for such a high-profile position – but, ultimately, it was Bongino who prevailed. As Fox Nation streamed the show, Westwood One rolled out the radio version to fill Limbaugh’s three-hour timeslot in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas, among many other markets across the land.
Technically, the former New York City cop is not “taking over for Rush” because the famed EIB Network does not produce the program. But for all intents and purposes, Bongino is poised to become the big man on campus – the voice of conservative talk radio. Perhaps more significant is his desire to build what one prominent Washington newspaper calls “a conservative media universe.” Thus, one might ask how Bongino rose to become the brightest star in such a rarified constellation?
A Worker Bee With Brains
Bongino does not simply talk on radio and television; he bellows and thunders. Often bawdy and always irascible, he presents as someone entirely unafraid of the left. Listen to him for five seconds, and you quickly grasp Bongino is a man who tells it as he sees it. He is the yang to Trump’s yang. That is not a typo: Both men carry a parallel view of politics, and their approach and methodology in communicating to the masses are not dissimilar.
The erstwhile Secret Service agent who served President George W. Bush and remained on protective duty for President Barack Obama is a born-and-bred New Yorker, just like Trump. Plainspoken and outspoken, both men constitute a charismatic duo for those on the right. Bongino may appear petulant and hot-tempered, but just below that cantankerous character lies a nice guy who is comfortable with himself. How can this be categorically stated?
In 2013, Bongino was one of the featured guests in the Liberty Speaker Series sponsored by Liberty Nation‘s parent organization One Generation Away. In introducing Bongino – who was running for Congress at the time – LN’s Tim Donner referred to the wannabe politico as “an up and comer in the conservative movement.” Prescient words indeed. Before and after his presentation, the former policeman chatted amiably with guests without prima-donna pretense. On a personal level, Bongino gives the impression of the cool dude throwing a Frisbee on the quad who was blasting Pink Floyd when you knocked on his dorm door to see if he wanted to go out for a beer.
Much as with Trump, the left fears Bongino’s business acumen as he assembles the early stages of a media empire. Such a burgeoning conservative media domain is the stuff of dreams for most Trumpists. Having recently invested in the YouTube competitor Rumble, Bongino presides over a celebrated and popular podcast and a best-selling book, and recently put money into a payment-processing service. “Creating a parallel media economy is not a good idea — it’s a necessary idea,” Bongino declared in an interview.
For sure, this relatively young upstart is “The Man” in conservative circles and one that progressives particularly love to hate. Thus far, in a short 46 years, the man who used to protect presidents has survived a bout with cancer, refused to buckle when the post-election chips were down, and has now rocketed to stratospheric heights. He will be a force to reckon with, and if you asked Bongino about his meteoric rise, he would likely tell you that is precisely the way he has always pictured it.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.
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