Steve Jobs used to surprise journalists and consumers alike by randomly replying to their emails sent to his well-known email address. It was always a little shocking to find that the world’s highest-profile CEO would take the time to reply personally to a criticism, as happened when Gawker writer Ryan Tate famously got into an spat with Jobs last year. Tate didn’t even disclose that he was a journalist until fairly deep into their volley.
I had the same feeling yesterday when a reader who has asked to remain anonymous forwarded us an email correspondence he’d just had with John Boehner‘s office.
It all started when said reader became so fed up with the House blocking the extension of the Payroll Tax Holiday that he decided to send his first-ever letter to a Representative. He fired off a note to the Speaker of the House John Boehner by way of Boehner’s press secretary Michael Steel.
It’s understandable why our reader would be so fed up: the House blockage of the extension embodies the worst in government: A few GOP Representatives are willing to let taxes rise (something they’re supposed to hate) on millions of working Americans starting January 1 purely as a power play to derail any possible success of the Administration. It’s a serious issue. So our reader wrote to Michael Steel with the subject header “Please pass along to your boss,” meaning John Boehner:
To which Michael Steel himself actually replied, with colleagues CC’d:
Which Kardashian. Michael Steel, Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, took the time to personally reply to an ordinary citizen not to explain Boehner’s position or the Republican strategy on improving the country, but to simply tuant him.
The arrogant, dismissive condescension to a sincerely concerned citizen is almost sadistic. Even more so than the House’s blockage of the Payroll Tax Holiday, what’s wrong with government is this email.
The reader said to me over email: “I didn’t reply b/c I didn’t want to stoop to that level but I was very close responding ‘the one who cries a lot.’”
Touche, reader. Our government may be intellectually and morally bankrupt, but at least we can have hope for our citizens.
Correction: An earlier version of this article listed Mr. Boehner’s press secretary as Michael Steele, rather than Michael Steel.