Maybe you haven't watched the TV hit "Mad Men," but chances are you've probably at least heard the name. The AMC show -- set in a time when advertising was just coming of age on Madison Ave. -- has dominated awards shows and its stars have become coveted names in showbiz. And last night, it got a little political.
The show decided to take a shot at then-Michigan Gov. George Romney, father of current frontrunner, Mitt. In fact, the writers even called him a "clown."
“Well, tell Jim his honor’s not going to Michigan,” character Henry Francis -- director of public relations and research for then-New York governor Nelson Rockefeller -- says. “Because Romney’s a clown and I don’t want him standing next to him.”
Mediaite has the clip:
To be fair, the show regularly inserts relevant historical references. And this could be an accurate portrayal of political animosity. But one does have to wonder: Is this Hollywood just taking a subtle dig at the GOP and setting the stage for a narrative regarding Mitt?
Vanity Fair doesn't think so - they've has spun the line as a reference to the elder Romney's decision not to back 1964 Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater:
Romney, a Republican with relatively progressive views on civil rights, became something of a political pariah following his public opposition to G.O.P. presidential nominee Barry Goldwater in 1964. That might explain the “clown” comment.
We know Francis meant the Romney the elder because in the summer of 1966—the year Season Five Mad Men takes place—Romney the younger was on a Mormon mission in France and would not have had an opportunity to be photographed with John Lindsay.
There's just one problem - the character making the reference in "Mad Men" is an adviser to John Lindsay and Nelson Rockefeller, both people who either ran against Goldwater (and opposed him after he won the nomination), or against his surrogates. Rockefeller himself refused to endorse Goldwater after running a hard fought campaign against him for the Presidential nomination, and personally accusing Goldwater of extremism and racism. Lindsay, meanwhile, was opposed for his position as Mayor of New York (a position he already holds in the show) by no less an eminence than William F. Buckley Jr, who wrote his book "The Unmaking of a Mayor" about the race.
So why is Lindsay calling George Romney, a political ally, a clown?