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Mary Schmich: Quick note on quick notes from politicians

I do my best to answer all my email, which is to say I live in a quicksand of failed intentions.

But when I got an email the other day from Bruce Rauner, who's running for governor of Illinois, I knew I had to answer because it was just so gosh darn friendly.

The email arrived with the subject line "quick note."

Aren't words without caps super-friendly?

It was also very friendly of him to promise brevity. True friends know not to ramble on about stuff that is only slightly less interesting than the hourly price of corn.

Anyway, in the spirit of brevity, let me cut to the chase and share what he wrote:

"Very quickly wanted to dash off a quick note to you about what we've been up to.

"In the last week I've been to Champaign, Downers Grove, Kankakee, Springfield and many more communities to talk about our ideas about how to bring back Illinois.

"My favorite event though was discussing how I'll make education our top priority in a room full of 1,200 teachers and Gov. Pat Quinn!

"Response overall has been fantastic. Folks love our shared priorities: more jobs, efficient government, better schools, and term limits to get rid of the career politicians.

"If you agree, I would deeply appreciate it if you would consider a donation or volunteering.

"Thank you again. Hope to see you soon.

"BR

"Sent from my iPad"

Ordinarily, I think people who share other people's emails are on a moral par with people who sneak-read other people's journals. In this case, I think it's OK because no matter how personal BR's email pretends to be, it's about as personal as a supermarket flier, and that's what has inspired me to dash off the following reply:

Subject: hey you

First, BR, let me quickly say a quick thing: Do you like to type on an iPad?

I go nuts trying to do that, buddy. I've also never understood why people need to proclaim what machine their email was sent on, but whatever. It's cool.

:)

But, just very quickly, before I get to my point, can I say one more thing? I do not think your email was sent from your iPad.

And even if it was, amigo, I think the whole "sent from my iPad" thing is part of the ruse to make people who get your email feel like your best pal when most of them, like me, have probably never met you.

And that, my friend, is my point.

When did every politician start acting like my BFF? Like the BFF of every potential donor, possible voter and reporter on their mass email list?

Yes, that is a rhetorical question. I already know when this political strategy of faux friendship began, or at least when it began to run amok.

2008.

That's when the Big O started texting me. It was so personal, the way he wooed me in the privacy of my own phone. Me and a few million other people, until, frankly, I got very annoyed. Some guys don't know when to back off.

He got elected president, though, and now it seems that every campaign is managed by graduates of the same political PR school, all of them trained to get rid of old-fashioned press releases, and old-fogey donor letters that begin, "Dear Mr." or "Dear Ms.," and instead cozy up to folks as if we're all Facebook besties.

The rules taught in this political PR school seem to be:

--• the media, write as if the recipient is a pal.

• Use a subject line like "quick note" or "Hi" to sucker the recipient into thinking, "A message from a friend!"

• Sign only your first name or initials.

• Use exclamation marks! And the word "folks!"

Like I said, BR, you're not the only politician who's faking friendship with we the folks.

Barack still sends out mass emails and calls people by their first names. Joe -- you know which Joe -- signs his name "Joe." Just Joe. Michelle writes in the same breezy way.

And, like you, my friend, they're always asking for something, which is yet another way I know they're not my real friends. Real friends aren't always looking for a handout.

Wow, buddy, there's so much more to say on this :( but I promised to be quick, so ciao for now.

Mary Schmich is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Email, mschmich@tribune.com. You can follow her on twitter.com/maryschmich or contact her on facebook.com/maryschmich.



By MARY SCHMICH