Skip to comments.McDermott aide: Don't call me Liz! (Out of Control Bureaucrat)
Posted on 06/19/2009 8:23:48 AM PDT by SkyPilot
Washington, D.C., political insiders were treated Wednesday morning to an unforgettable exchange of 19 e-mails. The players: an aide at McBee Strategic, a major lobbying firm, and one Elizabeth Becton, scheduling secretary to Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.
The aide's sin: He sent an e-mail addressed to Becton as "Liz."
The episode is not without precedent. Ex-Sen. Elizabeth Dole is renowned for turning icy when anybody uses the nickname "Liddy." Elizabeth Taylor once erupted when fifth husband Sen. John Warner began an admonition with the words "Now Liz . . ."
"Don't you Liz me," Taylor shot back, sticking a finger in the senatorial chest.
Becton is of a similar frame of mind, and without humor, according to a piece in the on-line publication Politico.
The episode began when the McBee aide, addressing Becton by her full name, tried to set up a meeting between McDermott and visiting brass from JPMorgan Chase, new owners of Washington Mutual.
He checked back some days later, and committed the unpardonable offense of beginning the e-mail with the words "Hi Liz."
"Who is Liz?" Becton replied.
The assistant apologized for the first time. But Becton shot back, "Where did you get your information?"
The electronic conversation continued. The McBee aide ended up issuing six apologies, to no avail. Becton continued to lecture him about name-calling in tones reminiscent of the high-profile Liddy and Liz.
"If I wanted you to call me by any other name, I would have offered that to you," Becton wrote. "Please do not call me by a nickname again."
"In the future you should be very careful about such things. People like to brag about their connections in D.C. It's a pastime for some. It's also dangerous to eavesdrop, as you have just found out.
"Quit apologizing and never call me anything but Elizabeth again. Also, make sure you correct anyone who attempts to call me by any other name but Elizabeth. Are we clear on this."
"Like I said, it's a hot button for me. And please don't call the office and not leave a message. My colleague told me you called while I was away . . . I do somethings leave my desk."
Under a longtime, since-departed administrative assistant, McDermott's congressional office earned a reputation as prickly, unresponsive and very difficult to work with.
Like the Chicago City Council, McD's office wasn't ready for reform, at least for many years.
The situation has brightened in recent years, under top aides Jan Shinpoch and now Mike DeCesare.
But the Becton exchange is an unwelcome reminder of (fairly recent) bad old days.
As to Becton, a famous Washington, D.C. social encounter might serve as guidance in a mutual turning of the other cheek.
A well-lubricated John Riggins, then star running back with the Washington Redskins, was seated at a dinner with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and her husband John.
Riggins tried loudly to strike up a conversation. The justice stayed cool.
Inpatient, Riggins declared in a loud voice, "Loosen up Sandy, you're too uptight." The O'Connors soon departed. Riggins was photographed leaving the dinner, propped up by friends.
How did each react?
"I was a bad boy," an apologetic Riggins said a couple days later.
In the meantime, the women's aerobics class at the U.S. Supreme Court came up with a scheme to raise a few dollars. They printed up T-shirts with a message: "Get loose with the Supremes."
An amused O'Connor showed up for a workout.
...Beck ripped her a new one this morning, he was as angry as I’ve ever heard him. I think they tried to make a call...
Good morning LIZ, just wanted to wish you a happy friday, LIZZIE.
...Heard him this morning, he was livid!!!
Oh that would be rich.
LOL Bet Lizzy having a wonderful day today! :)
Apparently she is no Clarissa Saunders.
She, for a fact, KNOWS she is the gatekeeper to a very powerful man. The fact that the Senator has not canned the (fill in your fav expletive) shows that he accepts if not encourages this kind of behavior.
This kind of petty crap has been around forever - Swift called them “Flappers” in his “Travels” book.
Sent an email saying; “Hi Liz” Good Day. Jane, but you can call me Janey ....
That was good.
I worked in the Pentagon right after Lewinsky left. I was in her old office by the Joint Staff and spoke to folks there. They said she had absolutely NO idea how Microsoft Word worked, much less what it even was.
Your post reminded me of that conversation.