I had the opportunity to speak with Leila Medley, a member of the Democratic National Committee, at the Missouri State Democratic Convention in Columbia on Saturday during a break in the activities as we waited for ballot results:
MB: …Serving on the Democratic National Committee [and] as a super delegate you’ve obviously been contacted a lot by the two campaigns about endorsing either one of them as a super delegate – and, to date, you haven’t. Is that correct?
Leila Medley: That’s true. That’s true. I’m still uncommitted.
MB: Have those phone calls been continuing?
Leila Medley: There are a few phone calls, but I have a good secretary and so she screens calls for me. And if it’s not the…someone from the inside I don’t, I don’t take the call is what it amounts to. But the letters have picked up. Right now I’m getting a lot of letters for Hillary from California.
MB: Have you communicated why you continue to stay, at least, neutral in this nomination race?
Leila Medley: I told a number of reporters a couple of months ago that I felt like since I did not jump in the very first part of this campaign on the side of either candidate that I was going to wait until the people had voted. I felt like everybody that’s entitled to vote should vote before I cast a second vote.
MB: And so that would mean that you’ll consider what happens then through the end of the primary, after the primary process is over, which I believe is, is that Puerto Rico?
Leila Medley: Yes, it is. Puerto Rico is the last one.
MB: The beginning of June?
Leila Medley: Right.
MB: Then you’ll make a decision at some point?
Leila Medley: Then I will make a decision at that point in time.
MB: Is there, have you been given any time line or deadline?
Leila Medley: Not really. It’s a self imposed deadline. I, I know that Howard Dean wants us to make a decision after the primary.
MB: After the final primary?
Leila Medley: After the final primary. Yes.
MB: How long have you been on the Democratic National Committee?
Leila Medley: I was elected four years ago in this same location. So, I only served four years. I decided not to run again…
…MB: So, in your four years on the Democratic National Committee, you’ve been there through the election of Howard Dean as national chairman.
Leila Medley: Yes.
MB: And the implementation of the fifty state plan.
Leila Medley: The fifty state plan, I think, was, was marvelous. He’s a good organizer. To be a doctor, he’s a good organizer. And I think he had the right idea in mind. And I think he will turn the country blue in November.
MB: Do you see the fact that this…do you think the fifty state plan has something to do with the kind of interest that’s been generated, maybe the fact that so many people are participating in the nomination process? Or is it a complex number of factors?
Leila Medley: It’s, it’s a number of factors. The fifty state plan simply put some parties back together after the election in 2004, where we were all so darn broke. And so that infusion of money went into those fifty states simply put those parties back together. I think the reason that there’s so much excitement and so much involvement this year is because of the candidates that we have, not necessarily because of what the party has done in any state, actually. But it’s the enthusiasm of the two candidates and the fact that it’s a historic election…[Obama and Clinton], now that is historic.
MB: Somebody told me, they said they thought whoever the next president is, they’re going to put on Mt. Rushmore. [Leila Medley: laughter] because, by comparison, they’re going to be considered, no matter what, if they’re mediocre, they’re going to be considered one of the greatest presidents in American history.
Leila Medley: I had not heard that. [laughter]
MB: I wonder about that and I hope that everything will be okay.
Leila Medley: Oh, I do, too…We have to take the White House back. We can not take another four years of the path that John McCain would lead us down. He’s too much like George Bush, he’s not totally a George Bush, but he’s too much like George Bush, that he would, we wouldn’t recover. Our economy would sink further. And our working families, our middle class would be disappearing completely. And never to come back…