I laughed out loud when I read this post over at Editorial Ass about an author who didn't understand what in-house advocate means.
This joker knew his project needed the attention of the bigwig rather than the "lowly editor." What a crock.
The one person you never treat poorly is the first person who said "yes." Everyone after that will love the project (we hope) but that first yes often ends up being the most passionate and will help you out when the fecal matter hits the atmospheric rotation device.
If you are in a competitive bid situation it's certainly fair to ask what the people up the food chain think. Absolutely. This post wasn't about that. It was about a project at the acquisition stage, and the author didn't ask what other people thought (and basically that's the agent's job anyway).
The blunt truth is there are more good projects than editors or agents have time or inclination to take on. I won't work with people who demonstrate by what they say or do that they don't value what I bring to the table. The shorthand for this is "life's too short". I hear that from my colleagues as well. Publishing isn't one of the high paying industries. One of the trade offs is we don't have to put up with jerks as often as people in other industries.
Of course, the truly ironic thing is that everyone who reads this blog already has figured that out. The people who need to hear it, won't.