'The View'’s Jedediah Bila on Politics, Ex-Boyfriends and Why She Might Be Dropped From Her Parents’ Will
She’s anti-Clinton and anti-Trump. So, theoretically, The View’s new cohost Jedediah Bila should be pissing off pretty much everyone with her barbed commentary on the race for the White House. But she’s not. In fact, this former Fox News contributor and card-carrying Libertarian is one of the freshest, funniest and most illuminating people talking politics today. What magic spell has she cast upon us?
Why are you so damn appealing to people who don’t agree with you?
Because I’m honest—honest enough to say I’m a Libertarian who won’t vote for Gary Johnson. I’ve been surrounded my whole life by people who don’t think like me, including my family. I went to school with liberals. My friends are liberal. All my ex-boyfriends are liberal. But along the way I’ve mastered the ability to find that warm, fuzzy common ground. [Laughs] Now I use it to my advantage. I’m a right-leaning independent talking freedom, but you still want to have a drink with me on Saturday night.
Are you still planning to cast a write-in vote for president? Joy Behar has made it clear she’s not happy about this.
I fully intend to exercise my right to write in the person of my choice, and that’s probably going to be Rand Paul. I want to feel good about my vote, and Clinton, Trump and Johnson aren’t workable for me. And I’m hardly alone. Honestly, if I had run as a third party candidate I think I would have been a formidable challenger because the other candidates are so flawed!
It can’t be easy impressing viewers who don’t agree with you politically—especially in such a volcanic partisan climate—but you’re certainly doing it these days. So are Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid, Ana Navarro and Megyn Kelly. Just a coincidence that you’re all women? We’re guessing not.
That’s an interesting point. I think there’s a hunger for female voices right now. A lot of women are feeling empowered to speak out from experience about the issues we know and care about. When I’m on TV discussing health insurance I know what I’m talking about. I had to figure out how to pay for my own health insurance for years when I didn’t have money. Women are more impacted by this election than ever before and they’re paying more attention. So maybe the guys who have been running the networks and the shows for such a very long time are finally seeing the value of these passionate voices. They’re finally thinking, “Hey, maybe we should give some of these women a chance to shake it up.”
Many of your fans considered you a sellout when you left Fox News for The View. How’d that feel?
They were upset that I betrayed my conservative roots to go over to the so-called liberal media, but I went with my gut and I’m happy to take the criticism. I’m not a “preaching to the choir” kind of girl. It was important for me to get my message out there to a broader audience. My goal is to be part of a conversation, not part of a duke-out.
Unlike a lot of us, you don’t seem to be freaking out over this election insanity. None of this keeps you awake nights?
Look, a fight with my boyfriend can keep me up three nights in a row. But politics? Never. It’s business. I don’t have this philosophy of doom. No matter who wins, there are a lot of checks on a president. We have the House, the Senate, the public, the media. Conservatives thought Obama becoming president was the end of the world and it wasn’t. It will all be OK.
You refer to your ex-boyfriends a lot on the show. A whole lot. How come?
I’m a whole person. I worked with Fox News for a long time and all anyone knew was the political part of my life, but that’s really a small part of who I am. On The View you get a full view—I get to talk about fashion, organic food, my parents and how they’re going to replace me in their will with Sara Haines. They adore her! In fact, I think they love her more than they love me. [Laughs] And I’ve had a very interesting dating life. I’m an open book with that stuff. I can talk about sex and the Electoral College in the same sentence. How can the audience get to know me and appreciate what I’m saying about politics if I don’t lay it all out there? They want to see a full human being, not a talking head.
Kellyanne Conway trashed The View on Twitter for not being “hard news” and you got her right back. Discuss.
I went crazy when she referred with sarcasm to “those who go to The View for hard news.” Hey, I come from hard news, so I delivered some hard news back to her. Yes, we have fun on the show. We like each other and play a lot. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about serious stuff and be taken seriously. Kellyanne wasn’t happy [with The View] and she didn’t have a good comeback and so she came back with that. So I took her on. I was right.
You and the other cohosts get along enormously well, even though there are plenty of disagreements, political and otherwise. What makes this particular mix succeed where some of the past ones haven’t?
It’s all about respect. We’re faking nothing. I would happily hang out with any of these women after work. Sara has become like a sister to me. Whoopi still has me star struck, and even when we disagree she embraces me. Joy is one of the funniest people I know. I love all of them. Every single one. The people in Congress may not have respect for one another, but you sure see it on The View. This show is a safe place to grow and blossom, regardless of your opinions.
What’s up with your first name? It conjures up images of thunderbolts and Old Testament judgment.
People always ask, “Is your name religious? Is it from the Bible?” [Laughs] But, the truth is, my mother got it from an episode of Barnaby Jones.