We are having a little fun this week on Top Line. After all, the most highly anticipated item on our calendar this past weekend wasn’t the Louisiana primary — sorry, Louisiana– it was the season premiere of Mad Men. And when our friends over at The Chris Matthews Show (which is syndicated across the country including on some ABC stations) put together this clever spoof of the Mad Men opening credits, we started thinking…Mad Men really is a lot like the 2012 campaign.
This season, Mad Men is set in 1967. The staid, tradition-bound business of advertising finds itself increasingly feeling pressure from disruptive forces in society, pushing back on the status quo. The same could be said for the Republican Party in 2012: the establishment core of the party is feeling its power challenged by the Tea Party forces in the street. Where will that power struggle end?
When it comes to the personalities, the comparisons are a lot of fun. Let’s start with an easy one, President Obama as Don Draper. Both are cool, sophisticated, and a bit distant emotionally. And what about the double identity thing Don Draper has going on? Throughout his childhood, Barack Obama was known, as Barry.
And what about the Republican field? Which Mad Men character shares qualities with Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul?
We say Romney is most like the always proper, if a bit awkward, company financial chief, Lane Pryce. We see a little Pete Campbell in Santorum — fighting for the bigger office, demanding respect, bringing in results that the old guard can’t ignore. And there is more to the Roger Sterling/Newt Gingrich comparison than the shocks of white hair. Both are still dining out on their glory years, quick with a joke and a jab, looking for one more big win on the main stage. And Ron Paul? Surely he is Bert Cooper — older than the rest and a player in firm business year after year, but not quite in the main plot line.
We know, we know — these aren’t entirely fair comparisons. We’re not making any comments about the candidates’ sexual, drinking and smoking habits when we compare them to the Mad Men line up of drinking, womanizing, chain smoking louts. It’s all in good fun. And in that spirit — what about the women of Mad Men? Which women in politics do you think they most resemble? Who is the Peggy Olson, Joan Harris, Betty Draper of the political scene? Let us know your comments below.