Commentary Magazine


2008′s Top Thank-You Notes

With the holiday season coming to a close, postal services worldwide are being inundated with two things: returned Brett Favre Jets jerseys and thank-you notes.

How do I know this?  Well, lucky for me, my mailman is an avid reader of CONTENTIONS, and was therefore more than happy to let me into the local post office after hours to open other people’s mail.  And let me tell you – it’s amazing what passes through zip code 19146!  So, now that I’ve hired a staff to sort through the new additions to my jersey collection, I present the top four thank-you notes from 2008.  (You’ll excuse me for not including any of the many letters from financial and automobile industry CEO’s to Congress–that would be super lame.)

4. Bashar al-Assad to Nicolas Sarkozy:

Dear Nick,

Thank you very much for not being a hard-ass.  When you terminated relations with me in January on account of my flagrant intervention in Lebanese politics, I briefly wondered whether you were really the light-and-lively, flamboyant showman that the French media always makes you out to be.  Luckily, I stuck with my guns, knew that you weren’t being serious, and continued to interfere in Beirut until I got exactly what I wanted.  Sure enough, you rewarded me for calling your bluff with an invitation to Paris, and then a rare visit to Damascus.  Thanks for not being a crêpe.  Haha.  Best,


3. Joe Biden to Sarah Palin

Dear Gov. Palin,

Thank you very much for distracting the media throughout your ten-week adventure as Republican vice-presidential nominee.  Somehow, your interesting mix of winks, miserable interview performances, and general lack of specificity on policy issues allowed the media to overlook my own embarrassing flubs.  This includes flubs on things I was supposed to know, such as whether Hezbollah was kicked out of Lebanon; as well flubs on things that I wasn’t supposed to mention in the first place.  People like you and me … (abridged: this letter continued, single-spaced, for twelve pages) … And I look forward to the day when you run against my son, Senator Beau.  Merry Christmas,


2. Mikheil Saakashvili to Vladimir Putin

Dear Vlad,

Thank you very much for invading Georgia – it is probably the only thing in the world that could have made me seem likable.  For one week in August, I was able to get more coverage than the Beijing Olympics, and won more shows of sympathy than Hillary Clinton got after losing the Democratic nomination.  I consider myself truly blessed to have as my adversary a blindly aggressive world leader who has done even more to stifle his domestic opposition than I have.  For all of our differences, I hope we can meet again in the near future – you always make me look ridiculously tall. S lyubOv’yu,

The Saakster.

1. Eliot Spitzer to Rod Blagojevich

Dear Rod,

As I write this, I can only imagine what the New York tabloid headlines would have been had my mother given me your first name.  Haha.  Anyway, thanks for diverting everyone’s attention away from my own indiscretion.  I’m no longer America’s most embarrassing governor – and not just because I resigned in disgrace.  Actually, your attempt to sell Illinois’ open U.S. Senate seat might win me some credibility: when you leave Springfield empty-handed (or in cuffs – kinky!), people might salute me for at least enjoying the fruits of my criminal activitywith my socks on!  But don’t sweat it – if you really need to relax, just call the enclosed number and give them my username, NYClient9.  Best to your Missus,

George Fox.