Quote of the Day: Romney Makes a Cameo on 'Mad Men'

By David A. Graham

But it's not product placement for the presumptive Republican nominee.

Updated, 12:47 p.m.

Is Don Draper a Hubert Humphrey supporter?

Maybe not. But Matthew Weiner, creator of the show that stars the louche ad man, offered some oblique commentary on presidential politics on Sunday night's episode of Mad Men. During the show, Harry Francis, a PR man apparently working for New York Mayor John Lindsay, is heard barking into a phone (toward the end of the clip above):

"Well, tell Jim his Honor's not going to Michigan. Because Romney's a clown and I don't want him standing next to him."

That's a reference to George Romney, who was governor of Michigan in 1966, the year in which this season of Mad Men is set, and is the father of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt. It's an interesting comment. Previously on the show, Francis served as PR director for New York Gov. Nelson Rockfeller. Rockfeller and the elder Romney were friends and natural allies as moderate Republican governors. Both opposed Barry Goldwater's more conservative politics, and Romney's 1968 bid for the presidential nomination used much of Rockefeller's staff from his similarly unsuccessful 1964 attempt. Lindsay, too, was a moderate Republican (and later Democrat), and ally of Rockefeller, so one might expect they would have gotten along. Lindsay and Romney were both considered potential running mates for Richard Nixon in 1968.

More likely than historical commentary, it's current-day punditry. While Weiner doesn't appear to have given money to President Obama, he's given nearly $9,000 over the last six years to Democratic causes, including the presidential campaigns of John Kerry and John Edwards and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to CQ Moneyline.

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Perhaps inevitably, a single line of dialogue has turned into a minor political freakout. Upon hearing about the Mad Men reference, Mitt Romney's son Tagg took to Twitter to express his outrage.

In the strictest sense, perhaps, Mad Men qualifies as liberal media, but this seems like some excessive protest. It's not as if New York Times reporters write Mad Men scripts, and surely it's no secret to Tagg Romney that his grandfather, being a political figure, wasn't beloved by everyone.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/04/quote-of-the-day-romney-makes-a-cameo-on-mad-men/255336/