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David Bellavia: Partisan Politics

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David Bellavia: Partisan Politics

Medal of Honor Recipient and conservative radio host David Bellavia talks about the recent shift in the Republican party, what makes a qualified candidate, and the differences between Democrats and Republicans.

Staff Sergeant David Bellavia served in the Army and deployed to Iraq in 2004. During the Second Battle of Fallujah, Bellavia cleared a house filled with five insurgents in order to save his squad. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at a White House ceremony in 2019.

In Bellavia’s new book, Remember the Ramrods, he reflects back on the events that earned him the Medal of Honor.

After returning home, David ran to represent New York’s 27th district in the House of Representatives. Currently, he hosts the David Bellavia Show, a conservative call-in radio program.

During the interview, David had this to say about partisan politics:

“I give a person who disagrees with me politically more time than someone agrees with me because I'm bored with that. And I don't want to discover why liberals are wrong, I want to learn what it is that separates us. And for the life of me, I don't find any fundamental difference outside of personality and hubris and pride where people don't want to admit when they're wrong.”

You can find David on Twitter @ssgBELLAVIA.

Ken Harbaugh:

Hi everyone, it’s Ken. Before we start, I want to share some exciting news: We’ve paired with Meidas Touch, so you can now watch these interviews on YouTube. Just search for the Meidas Touch YouTube channel, or click the link in the show description. Thanks, and enjoy the episode.

David Bellavia:

I give a person who disagrees with me politically more time than someone agrees with me because I'm bored with that. And I don't want to discover why liberals are wrong, I want to learn what it is that separates us. And for the life of me, I don't find any fundamental difference outside of personality and hubris and pride where people don't want to admit when they're wrong.

Ken Harbaugh:

I'm Ken Harbaugh, and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions.

My guest today is Army veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, David Bellavia. He ran for Congress as a Republican in New York and now hosts the David Bellavia Show, a conservative call-in radio program. And he's the author of Remember the Ramrods, in which he recounts the actions that led to his Medal of Honor and talks about the brotherhood of his fellow soldiers.

David, that's my scripted intro, but what I really want to say is that I feel an incredible obligation to do this interview right. Because I know we disagree about some fundamental things, but as you say all the time on your show, and I've listened to hours of your archives, if we can approach people with whom we disagree from a place of mutual respect, we can have these tough conversations. So David, welcome to Burn the Boats.

David Bellavia:

Thank you. I appreciate it. And again, that's the only reason why I do radio. I got out of war and I was attracted to confrontation, but I was conditioned and trained to dominate confrontation. And one of the things I realized is, is when I stopped proselytizing, when I stopped trying to convert you to me, and I actually listen to you, it's all nuance. Life is nuance. It is. And I would rather leave a conversation saying, "I heard you out. I'm not with you. I'm not with you on this one. But you know what, I appreciate you respecting me enough to treat me as an equal." And if we could do more of that, Democrat, Republican, it's just a clubhouse. It's no different than the Red Sox and the Yankees. We might get fired up over our team and our uniform color, but at the end of the day, what are we trying to do? I'm not that insecure that I need to feel that as Ted Cruz debates on the Senate floor goes my day. You know what I mean? It doesn't work out like that, for me at least.

Ken Harbaugh:

I want to talk about that shift because you've been involved in conservative politics for a long time. You first ran for Congress 10 years ago. For the last few years, you've hosted this conservative call-in show. But there has been, I would say, a notable shift in tone in how you talk about politics in just the last few years. And I'm wondering if receiving the Medal of Honor had something to do with that.

David Bellavia:

Well, absolutely. I didn't even know if I wanted to do radio anymore after the Medal of Honor, because I don't want to use the Medal of Honor as a credibility to push an agenda. All I wanted to do was run for office. I felt that that was a continuation of service. I'm not a guy who was a senator's son. I was from rural Western New York and home of the Buffalo Bills and we're blue collar, middle class people. And the Democrats I grew up with were farmers and gun owners. Even a progressive, a liberal was your neighbor. The teacher hated Reagan, but it was my teacher. And everything was like cool, they just didn't like Reagan. You know what I mean? So I was never raised in an environment that my adversary was a citizen who disagreed or was passionate.

And I'm not threatened by passion. I'm not threatened by shouting. I'm not threatened by any disagreement. And so when I was a candidate, I went up against the machine and the machine is, earn your time. Go run for assembly, go run for this. I get the medal of honor and what I have been fighting for close to 10 years, 12 years, they clear the decks. The millionaires step aside, the president of the United States is willing to say, "This is yours. You're our congressman. We'll redistrict around you. This is what the party wants. Bonafide. You can't be attacked. You've been vetted. Go take it." And then I was like, "Wow, this is it. This is the integrity challenge. What you've wanted for 12 years is here, take it. Go be an ideologue, go show up and do Tucker and Hannity and scream at the echo chamber." And then I thought, "Wait a minute. No. If you didn't want me before you thought I was an Army guy, you want me now because it's what you want. It's what you want to push." I'm not here to bash in constituents heads that disagree with me. I get a lot of people. “I watch only left-wing media. I only read left-wing newspapers”. I give a person who disagrees with me politically more time than someone agrees with me because I'm bored with that. And I don't want to discover why liberals are wrong, I want to learn what it is that separates us. And for the life of me, I don't find any fundamental difference outside of personality and hubris and pride where people don't want to admit when they're wrong.

So I started to look at my own life and say, "Look, I came into politics as a NeoCon." And I can look at that now and say, "I'm a recovering NeoCon." I don't want to be a NeoCon. I don't consider them to be right about foreign policy. I find very few of them willing to go out there and fight for their foreign policy. And then when it comes to defending it, they send guys like me on Chris Matthews. They send guys like me into CNN, but they're not out there doing it. They're not defending that policy. So I said, "You know what, we need to be rational about where we stand." And by the way, if you're confident that you're right, why are you losing your mind? If I'm telling you there's a fire, either you believe me or you don't. So how can I earn your trust that I'm credible and I'm serious if I become a blow hard? I can't ever tell you the world is ending if I tell you the world is ending every five minutes. And so that's my focus.

And if I get a million viewers, I get a million viewers. If I get five, I get five. I don't give a damn. But I'll tell you, those five people will have a Thanksgiving meal with their family members and they're going to be in each other's lives again because they know how to rationally have discussions. And that's all we can ask for is that, "Hey grandma, I know you're a big Biden supporter, pass the mashed potatoes. I love you. I'm just not with you on this one, but you're my grandma."

Ken Harbaugh:

That seems to be a theme throughout your shows. One of the recent episode titles was, Can We Have Civil Discussions With People We Disagree With? That comes through in how you're talking now. But I'm wondering, given where you broadcast, if you have seen a change over time? Like I said, I've listened to hours of archives and when you stick up for Democrats, you did it recently when you said there isn't a elected Democrat in the country who believes in repealing the Second Amendment like the gun extremists accused them of. When you do stuff like that, does your audience get upset with you? Because I see that in a lot of other places, I got to believe that you feel it too.

David Bellavia:

Listen, there are times that, yeah, I think we're all complicated. And I think that there are times that sometimes I come across a little too conservative and I'm not listening to my better instincts and I get a little too partisan. I think that's a crutch that I have. I think we all have it. But let's be honest, the law of 50/50, 50% of the people are going to love you and 50% of the people are going to hate you. And they're going to vacillate between the two. None of it really affects me. If I have a mutant ability, my superpower is, I honestly love the confrontation of someone saying that they...

Ken, I would never tell you to your face half of the things people would write about you. We're having a conversation right now. If you found a Facebook post where I'm like, "Just talked to this Ken guy, total douche. This guy's a total coward, trying to put me on the spot. Calling me a radical." Well, now's the opportunity for me to tell you that, Ken. Now's the chance for me to look you in the eyes and say, "Who the hell do you think you are? You're wrong about everything", but I'm not going to do it because you're looking at me and showing me respect. So what kind of a human being does that without that confrontation? Again, we need to stop stooping to conquering. There are people that just want to be agitators and our foreign adversaries are going to use that. China and Russia love to play around and make us seem more divided than we actually are.

I've been around this country since the award. I got the medal of honor, they sent me to Gay Pride Week in New York City. I don't know what's going to happen. I got transvestites, transgender people, gay people, "Go kick ISIS's ass,” “God bless America”. “Thank you for keeping us safe.” “God bless our military." That's not on CNN or Fox. You're telling me that there are people that don't vote red that actually love America and actually want to defend America and actually appreciate law enforcement and the military? Now, there's people that don't. There's people on the right that want to do stupid things too, but that's not America. America believes in our founding documents and America believes that we're trying our best to correct things that we screw up. I'd rather focus on those people. And if it's a smaller audience, I don't give a damn.

I've had offers to go and do this at other venues and other established conservative areas that want a medal of honor conservative talk show host. I don't want to be them. I didn't go to Congress because I don't want to be them. I don't want to be those guys. I'm me. I want to be me. And I love it and it's fun. And Buffalo is perfect, a lot of Canadians in our audience. And those Canadians, they don't have a flag. They're Canadian, they don't care about Republicans or Democrats. They're going to tell you the truth from the outside, you're ridiculous. From the outside, you got a point. From the outside, you sound like a lunatic. I'm like, Thank you, Canadian. That's nice to know it. It's a lot of fun. It helps me out.

Ken Harbaugh:

Have you noticed a shift though, in the last, well, I guess since you've been doing this, amongst your audience in terms of the levels of partisanship, are people angrier or more strident? It's a loaded question because I think where I'm coming from, but something has changed.

David Bellavia:

It's Trump. It's Trump. Trump has changed the world. Now, there's going to be the cross section of people that say that Trump is the chemotherapy that was needed because of a malignancy in America. I'm not with that camp. I don't believe that. I will say that Trump is a Frankenstein monster created by some of the very same people that created other Frankensteins. You don't have President Reagan without Jimmy Carter. You don't have Barack Obama without George W. Bush. You don't have Donald Trump without Barack Obama. That's just the way it goes. The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that there are too many Republicans that are afraid to use power because of perception. And Democrats don't give a damn about that. Democrats, “This is what we believe and we've got the mandate, we've got the people. We're going, we're fighting. Let's do this.” And then you've got these folks that get elected and say, "I'm worried that if we go full, I believe this in my heart, I don't want to say it. I don't want to come out and state exactly how I feel about this issue because I'm afraid of the way it's going to be perceived." I don't see that with my liberal friends, with my certainly colleagues that are in the media.

Look, a person that's on MSNBC is throwing it out there. That's what they do. Fox News, they're throwing it out there. This is who they are. I don't see that with elected officials. I see a lot of guys holding up, doing the layup instead of slamming it down. And you're like, Well, why? I know what you are trying to say. I know what you want to say. Say it. Say it. Don't allow the opposition to define what's in your heart if it's not in your heart. That's my whole point.

And so I think we can get to a lot of our problems. And again, if you give me term limits, America is humming into the year 2550 because I don't have board millionaires taking over leadership jobs. I don't need campaign finance reform. You could write whatever check you want to write. You're only going to serve a limited amount of time and the next person's going to come along. Because let's be honest, is this job that difficult? Do you honestly believe it's that difficult to be a congressman? When were you going to have an elected official that looks you in the eye and says, "That Inflation Reduction Act, didn't even read it. I have no idea what's in it. I skimmed it. I used keywords. I found the keywords, and this is what I'm against in it. Or this is what I'm for." No one's reading these things. No one's reading the tax laws and the build ... 850 pages printed on a Tuesday, voted for on a Thursday. Shut up. Nobody's doing it. So my point is, just be honest. Say what you feel and you're going to get voted out or you're going to get voted in. But there are far too many people that are wishy-washy. And if there's one thing that I think Republicans could do better is just telling the truth of where they feel in the positions. Because by the way, if you're right, what's the damage there? Damage is, you're going to get voted out of power. And you want power. That's what you want. You want control. And my biggest fear is that we're going to get 60 days and we're going to impeach Joe Biden. Does he deserve to be impeached? No one cares. They're going to do it. They're going to just tit for tat. And then Republican wins in 2024, impeach them. Democrat wins in 2028. Impeach. We've lost our mind in this idea of everything has to be a political parlor game and nothing is ever going to be done. And China is over there playing the fiddle.

Ken Harbaugh:

We're both vets and I feel like we can have a certain kind of conversation that others can't. And I want to talk to you about the role that veterans have played in exacerbating these divisions. I think about some of the veterans advocacy groups and the way, well, you mentioned it earlier, the way folks like you were sent out on Chris Matthews to do the dirty work so that the politicians can keep their hands clean. Do you have thoughts on the way the veteran constituency has been deployed and weaponized politically?

David Bellavia:

So when I came home from the war, I started, co-founded with five of the guys, a group called Vets for Freedom. You had VoteVets and IAVA that were out there. Rieckhoff, John Schultz, moveon.org. The left had their veterans group, the right had our veterans group. And we were just gladiators just bash Rieckhoff and John Schultz, these guys are the enemy. They're the worst guys in the world. They're aiding and abetting Al-Qaeda. That was how it was set up. I met a guy named John Powers in Buffalo who was running for Congress. He was an Iraq veteran. I ran for Congress because an Iraq veteran against the war was running as a Democrat. This is McCain/Obama before the economy goes to hell. Let's have a debate on the Iraq war, the surge, what's going good, what's going bad. If I could do my life over again, I never would've been involved in that. I've got to know Paul Rieckhoff very well and I'm not proud of the way I conducted- I can't speak for anyone else. I don't like the way I conducted myself during that time. I got brought into the horseshit, but more importantly, I thought that veterans would make really good elected officials. I can't think maybe five, both sides of the aisle, that I could actually say I'm proud of. I actually think the veterans make bad elected officials, like demonstrably poor elected officials. And it's for the same reason that they use their status as credibility. And I think that's not helpful. So what, I'm more credible because of a decoration I got? I have more legitimacy on PanAsian trade? Shut up. You got a bronze star, you got a silver star, you're not an expert on social security. You know what I mean?

It's the same reason why I hate when DAs and attorney generals run for elected office, higher office. It pisses me off. An attorney general is running for governor or running for Senate. You're supposed to put bad guys in jail. You can't use that. In my administration, I put together, put four pedophiles in prison. I would hope you would do that regardless of a re-election. That's your job, dude. I don't like it. I would've done that differently. I can acknowledge that that's not healthy. But moreover, I can also state that I need to know much more about you than ... I get asked to endorse people all the time and I say no 99% of the time because if you want it that bad, something's going on. You can't want it that bad. There's something else there. I don't look at just a veteran and say, "I'm with you." I can't do that. There's times that Seth Moulton makes a lot of sense. There's times that he sounds to me like he's from Mars, but I don't look at that as, well, he's a veteran. I'm with him a hundred percent of the time. Crenshaw, Tulsi Gabbard, there's rational positions they all take, and I honor their service, but I'm not just a reflexive, you're a vet, you're with me, you're on my team. That's a recipe for disaster.

Ken Harbaugh:

How about the other side of that coin? Holding members of our tribe accountable when they clearly cross the line, like General Flynn advocating for a Myanmar-style coup, violent overthrow of the government in this country. What's our obligation as vets to call out the bad actors in our ranks?

David Bellavia:

Well, look, we've got a lot of issues when it comes to lobbying overseas. It's crossed both parties and all branches, quite frankly. I think the biggest issue when it comes to General Flynn, or when it comes to Alan or it comes to any of these other guys, is what are the expectations? Well, what are we expecting that general class to actually do? In the old days, in the 19th century, the military generals were elected a president because that was the best PR you could get. Andrew Jackson wasn't the best leader for America. He was the most popular leader in America. He's in the newspaper every day. You've got a series of mid-19th century presidents that are all military people because it's name recognition and it's credibility. There's a mindset that these generals are going to go on to Fortune 500 CEO positions, that they're going to be looked on and use that influence.

Well, is it a good idea that our congressmen are lobbyists, probably not. Is it a good idea that our generals leaving the military go on to work for defense contractors? Probably not. Is it a good idea that our generals retire from the military and go take positions at foreign adversaries or even allies in their defense department? Probably not. I mean, this is not like the existential crisis that I think some people make it. It's very clear. You set the rules and if the rules are violated, you slap them down. Saudi Arabia has got how many people on the payroll that we know of. Who's following up on your clearance? You have a top secret clearance, maybe you got a Q clearance, you're at the Department of Energy, you're a big time guy with a clearance. I don't want that to be a lifetime achievement award. You're not going for an Oscar in cinematography, you're done with your job. I want your clearance back. I don't need to brief any general or secretary of state after they're done serving. I don't even think a president needs that. Why does a former president need a briefing? I think it's ridiculous. I understand a candidate, you don't want the candidate to be flat footed in a debate. You want them to be up on the issues. But these generals getting out of the military that are holding on to their positions and relationships, this is black and white. There's a code of conduct. There are rules, enforce them.

And by the way, that's Congress's job. Congress is there to oversight and they do a horrible job of it. They don't oversight anything. If you're unhappy with the posturing in courtrooms, maybe we as a collective get together and say, CSPAN sucks. Maybe turn CSPAN off and stop putting the cameras on these elected officials and maybe we'll get back to business, actually doing your job and posturing for your constituents back home. Because all of these problems, and I can list maybe 10 of them, 10 former military people that are out there working with other people under the radar, taking cash. Not a single one of them would've passed a sniff test. And none of them can look at you and say that they didn't know that they were doing something that was unethical or immoral. Whether it's Turkey, well, they're a NATO ally. What's wrong with that? They've got the F 16 Charlie, they're our friends. Are they? Are they, really? It's okay for you to just move over. Germany? Is that appropriate if it's England or if it's a NATO country? I think you know the answer to that, because if it was appropriate, you would disclose it and say nothing to see here. If you're not disclosing it, it's because you choose not to. And I think it's a really easy thing to fix, don't you?

Ken Harbaugh:

I think the policy prescription is probably pretty easy. I think some of the habits are pretty entrenched and you call it out passionately. But when you say that these aren't really existential threats, I think you're probably right when it comes to these lobbying gray areas. But when it comes to attacks on democracy, I think you and I are in a different frame of mind and I used Mike Flynn intentionally as an example. Because here's a guy who's not just out making money, he is urging the president at the time to invoke the Insurrection Act. These are existential threats. And the only reason we don't have the 82nd Airborne in downtown DC is because the joint chiefs of staff, Mark Millie, says that's not going to happen. But I worry about the generals like Mike Flynn using their positions in a way that is an existential threat.

David Bellavia:

It would've been a bad idea to have the 82nd Airborne in DC on January 6th?

Ken Harbaugh:

No, I'm talking about during the protests.

David Bellavia:

Black Lives Matter?

Ken Harbaugh:

Yeah.

David Bellavia:

Do you honestly, at 3:00 AM, are you worried about the threat to democracy? Does that concern you?

Ken Harbaugh:

Yeah, it really does when I think about the ways in which the process for counting votes is being monkeyed with. There's this Stalin quote, "I don't care who votes or how, I care who counts the votes and how." And I am less concerned about these voter suppression and voter repression laws than I am about Electoral Count Act stuff. And these cases that are now approaching the Supreme Court that would give state legislatures the ability to send their own slates of electors, like we nearly saw happen after the 2020 election where Republican dominated legislatures were going to say, we'll send our own electors to DC. I don't think that's getting enough attention. And we're a little far away from the role of veterans in this. But yeah, I do think there are existential threats to democracy.

David Bellavia:

Look, I get it. If you've got red districts and you're running radical liberals in those districts, you want the most radical liberal in a red district for your team to win these elections. But it appears that a lot of money was spent to find election deniers in primaries. And this is public source, it's not Alex Jones' Gay Frog Conspiracy, that we have Democrats that have funded a lot of lunatics in a lot of districts, and they're going to win those congressmen and state senators. So my point is that if democracy is at risk, why on earth would a party that truly believes that democracy is at risk put in candidates that they feel are putting democracy at risk?

Ken Harbaugh:

I’m not going to defend that. I find that unforgivable. We have this tendency to, and you saw it in 2016 when folks on the left were saying the best thing that can happen for the Democratic Party is for Trump to win the nomination, and the worst happens. And it's happening again as Democrats are funding extremists, thinking it's going to improve their chances. I don't defend that one bit, but the fact is that the anti-democracy extremists are, for the most part, coming from the one side, and I think that's a threat that can't be ignored.

David Bellavia:

What would you define as an anti-democracy extremist? What does that entail?

Ken Harbaugh:

Yeah, great question.

I think there are some baseline definitions. One is saying that the 2020 election was stolen against all evidence, a claim for which you have to believe that 60 federal judges, including a ton of Trump appointees are part of some vast conspiracy theory. If you're continuing to parrot the big lie that Joe Biden is an illegitimate president, I think you're fundamentally anti-democratic.

David Bellavia:

First of all, I'm not going to MyPillow guy for any heart to heart on electoral law, so I hear what you're saying. There was a lot of reflexive filing, what was the monster document called?

Ken Harbaugh:

I know what you're talking about, but all these AGs signed on to it.

David Bellavia:

Right, right, right, right. Okay, so I'm with you. When we go back to 2016, knowing what we know now, which is something the Atlantic had a piece about amnesty for COVID mistakes. But I've noticed that there's an amnesty for election denying that we seem to be repeating in 2016 for over three years. The narrative was that this was an illegitimate president. It started with protests before he was even inaugurated with Trump. You had the Pink Hat Mafia. You had the protests all over the country. The feminists were going nuts. And what they were saying is that Vladimir Putin elected President Trump as President of the United States. Now the evidence wasn't there, but that's why we investigate. So there was an investigation. For three years, there was an investigation. But let me just say that whether or not that turned out to be true or false, the reflexive response to that statement was not dissimilar to what we heard in 2000 with a very contentious Supreme Court decision in Florida.

Let's go be honest, Ohio in 2004, that got a little slippery for the Kerry people. They were like, "What's going on at four counties? When are we opening? When are we closing?" But the investigation had to happen before we could make any public statement on whether or not people were speaking at hyperbole or if they're partisan. What I find interesting about the statements that you're making now, which are all backed with court decisions and everything else, there has not been the ability for that side to air their grievances for three years. Because theoretically, if you look at the clock, you would have another year of conspiracy about how something went astray in Maricopa County to match what we saw in 2016 without any allegation that we have anti-democracy. Do you see what I'm saying?

Ken Harbaugh:

I do. And I would submit that 2020 represents a sea change in American politics because it was the first time in our history that the peaceful transfer of power was interrupted. And you can criticize all you want the democratic reaction to Trump's election in 2016, but the democratic powers that be, attended the inauguration, Hillary Clinton didn't contest the election. The Democratic Party as a whole didn't encourage a mob to descend upon the Capitol and block the election. But 2020 was different, and I just think we need to be realistic about the threat. You had literally the majority of elected Republican representatives voting against that peaceful transfer of power after the riots. And I just don't think they're comparable in American history.

David Bellavia:

But you wouldn't state that if Trump showed up to the inauguration and all the Republicans went to the inauguration and then continued to push conspiracy that the 2020 election was rigged, that would somehow justify the statements that they made in public. Because every one of the people you mentioned that participated in the inauguration in 2016, all went on record as saying that Vladimir Putin elected Donald Trump and did so for three years. My point is that I hate the game of ‘This side did it, I'm going to do it too.’ It's a fool's errand and it's a part of the game. But it seems odd that we're spending so much time going down a road of the most powerful country in the world that we believe can systematically change so much for the betterment of mankind is at risk because a former president believes ...

And honestly, if I was consulting President Trump in 2020, I wouldn't have even mentioned the voting machines, the online, the 2:00 AM reversal. I think we could solve it all by saying, if you are going to early vote, which many people have found to be successful and a convenience, you can't wait. We're going to be until Thanksgiving until we get results in Pennsylvania. That's ridiculous. It's not transparent and it breeds this red mirage to people that don't trust the system. It doesn't help. I don't see how that's a benefit. If you're going to decide that these are the ways we're going to conduct ourselves, we need results. We need results now. And if I can't even get into my Google without two time authentication, you're telling me the most powerful nation in the world can't come up with a safer, more simpler, streamlined way to vote. We're not being creative. We've got Silicon Valley is, I can't turn on my iPhone without a retinal scan. Come on, we could do better. And when you're doing better, you're taking away the narrative that this thing can be hijacked. I mean come on, do we want no excuse absentee balloting? I don't think any rational person can say that there isn't a potential for shenanigans to go down. That's not a good thing. You want an absentee, you sign up for an absentee. If I have to show my ID to buy Sudafed, I show my ID to vote. I don't have a problem with that. Does any rational person have a problem with, if you don't want to show up in person, vote from home, one vote one person, and we count it in one day.

And the other piece of that is, if there's a story that comes out, just like James Comey has no business holding a press conference saying Hillary Clinton might be a bad person. Hillary Clinton might have broken the law. That was completely out of his lane as Attorney General. That should at least, I should say, FBI director at least. It shouldn't have been done by the Attorney General. That wasn't done. It's also equally disturbing that a laptop story obviously held to be an October surprise is held from social media platforms. I don't think those are partisan complaints. I think that's pretty down the road, middle of the ground to say these are manufactured catastrophes. And as much as it annoys you that you have that vocal minority of people on the right screaming hysteria, the left is empowered by that.

And just like I'm empowered by the Pink Hat Mafia screaming at police horses and a lot of the ridiculous behavior that you see by district attorneys and everything else, I don't want to use that anymore. I don't want blue cities to suffer because of their leadership, because it helps a Republican get elected. And I don't think it helps that you have people screaming about election hijacking because it benefits rational people that happen to be left of center. You know what I mean? These are easy fixes, but I don't think our inner partisan wants to fix, because I think it benefits our side. Joy Reid is wonderful to me. No, I enjoy her because it's just, to me, it's kind of like low hanging fruit. Joy Reid's saying something silly again. But my point is, is that I don't think it's good for the country. And I think you could say that about Trump. I think you could say that about Joe Biden. I think that if we really put our heads, if you and I got together with coffee, I think we could solve one of these problems and eliminate your side from saying, "Why are you doing this?" It eliminates my side from saying, "Why are you doing that?"

Ken Harbaugh:

Well, David, and I hope we have that. Yeah, I think we could come to agreement on a lot. We're probably still not going to see eye to eye on the threat that January 6th and it's deeper foundations represents, but we're probably going to have to take that one up another time. I hope I can come on your show and have your callers pester me about my beliefs.

David Bellavia:

Ken, listen, I demand it. I demand it. When this is over, send me your contact information. I would love you as a weekly guest, and your entire job is to be a professional contrarian.

Ken Harbaugh:

You got it.

David Bellavia:

And just absolutely throw it out there. It would bring me joy. I appreciate your time. Thank you for this discourse and the way you conduct yourself. It means a lot, man.

Ken Harbaugh:

Thanks, David. It's been an honor having you, and let's keep the conversation going.

David Bellavia:

Amen. Thank you.

Ken Harbaugh:

Thanks again to David for joining me. Make sure to check out his new book, Remember the Ramrods.

Thanks for listening to Burn the Boats. If you have any feedback, please email the team at [email protected]. We're always looking to improve the show.

For updates and more follow us on Twitter @Team_Harbaugh. And if you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to rate and review.

Burn the Boats is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. Our producer is Declan Rohrs, and Sean Rule-Hoffman is our audio engineer. Special thanks to evergreen executive producers, Joan Andrews, Michael DeAloia, and David Moss. I'm Ken Harbaugh, and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions.

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