"Mad Men" last night deployed the long arm of history in a sly swipe at GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney by referring to his father, George Romney, as "that clown..."
George Romney? Clown? In the spring/early summer of 1966? It was proabably meant to be funny - you know, George is father of Mitt hahahahaha...but "Mad Men," as a show deeply attentive to historical fact-as-opposed-to-fiction, may have wanted to dig a little deeper on this one.
The moment came when Henry Francis - Christopher Stanley - took a call from some functionary arranging to meet-and-greet between his boss, NYC GOP mayor John Lindsay and Romney, then gov of Michigan. Not that clown, Henry - formerly PR/research for Nelson Rockefeller - barked into the phone.
Specifically, this exchange: "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.”
Tagg Romney, Mitt's son, tweeted:
“Seriously, lib media mocking my dead grandpa? George Romney was as good a man I’ve ever known. Inspirational leader, worked for civil rights, promoted freedom. We need more like him.”
It was odd because a.) Romney in spring of 1966 was a reasonably prominent Civil Rights supporter (although it's unclear if he ever marched with Martin Luther King, as Mitt had once claimed; and b.) He was a successful and unclownish governor of Michigan at the time (and had won a big election by a sizeable margin too.)
His famous "brainwash" remark wouldn't arrive for a year - see below - and while Lindsay and Romney would be somewhat at cross purposes when the latter was secretary of housing and urban development during the Nixon administration, that was three years later, in 1969. Yeah, both Romney and Lindsay were widely considered potential GOP prez candidates for the '68 ticket, but that hardly makes Romney a clown either...
Also: Romney was barely even a Republican (he was effectively a RINO), who seemed more like a Democrat in social/geopolitical/economic matters - just like Hizzoner Lindsay!
So what circus was Henry exactly referring to?