Would electing Mitt Romney in November be tantamount to promoting Mad Men's Don Draper to our nation's highest office? That's the argument Democrats are making, according to a Politico article titled "The Draperizing of Mitt Romney." The piece alleges that the Obama campaign is trying to paint the conservative Romney as a '50s-era throwback who is painfully out of touch and living in the past. The president himself has dinged Romney for using the "archaic" phrase "marvelous," while his chief strategist David Axelrod quipped that Mitt "must watch Mad Men and think it's the evening news" — suggesting that the former governor yearns for a time when "bosses could dictate on women's health." Is Romney as unevolved as Don Draper (one who doesn't booze, smoke, or drink coffee, of course)?
The argument is intrinsically flawed: Saying that Mitt Romney evokes Don Draper, minus all the character's vices and dirty charms, is ridiculous, says John Hayward at Human Events. The Mad Men lead, after all, is defined by "his drinking, cheating, and charisma." Painting the past, particularly the '50s, as a bad thing is also a misfire. After four years of the "scandal-plagued Obama administration" and its doomed love affair with progressive politics, voters are probably hankering for that old-school "earnestness" for which Romney is wrongly being pilloried.
"The politics of Draperizing"
And isn't particularly strategic: A major problem with this attack, says Don Surber at the Charleston Daily Mail, is that most Americans don't watch Mad Men, so don't know who Don Draper is, while those who do watch the show like him. Some strategy. It's even dumber for Democrats to characterize Mitt as a throwback to the '50s, an era to which baby boomers pine to return and about which younger voters know little.
"Give me President Don Draper"
Actually it's genius: It's admittedly confusing that the Obama campaign wants to compare the notoriously bland Romney to a character "known for being smooth, suave, [and] getting what he wants — whenever he wants," says Mareesa Brown at The Stir. But that aside, the claim that Republicans idealize the Mad Men era is disturbingly valid. It wasn't exactly a golden time in our nation's history. As Bill Maher wisely points out: "It was good if you were a white man. It wasn't that good if you were Mexican or black or Jewish or disabled or gay or a woman." Yet, it's become increasingly apparent that Romney's politics really are "better suited to that time."
"Mitt Romney is no Don Draper, but he'd take the country back to the Mad Men era"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Pope Francis' American problem
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Are there dogs in heaven? Let's hope not.
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
Subscribe to the Week