An October 24, 2008 Associated Press story detailed how the cultural influence of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning TV drama Mad Men has been far more extensive than its surprisingly low ratings might indicate. Within the article, there was this observation about its “elite” and “intellectual” fan base:
Fashion designer Michael Kors cited "Mad Men" as an inspiration. The show's beautifully retro-styled stars are on magazine covers. A "Mad Men" DVD was spotted at the elbow of Barack Obama aboard his campaign plane.
Being a regular viewer of the program myself (despite the fact I am still on the street side of the velvet ropes of the “elite”), the suggestion that Senator Obama is a fan of Mad Men doesn’t surprise me that much. When you take a close look beneath Barack Obama’s surface, he has a lot in common with Mad Men’s protagonist, advertising wizard Don Draper. To wit:
However, while Obama and Draper share many traits and life experiences, some things about them are markedly different. For example, Draper restrains himself about half the time when women throw themselves at him; there is no reason to believe Obama has that Clintonesque weakness (although if evidence someday emerges of B.O. infidelity, the likely response from his defenders will be, “Look at him! Can you blame him?”). On the other hand, there is this difference: Before hitting Madison Avenue, Draper worked with both his head and his hands; any instance in which Obama has needed to scrub beneath his fingernails at the end of his work day is unknown to me.
Still, there are enough commonalities that we could call Barack Obama a Mad Man With a Tan. Obama is fond of telling his audiences stories about various individuals in his family tree (almost exclusively white, for some reason); perhaps if one dug down deep enough, we would discover that Barack is distantly related to Don Draper.
I know what you’re thinking: “L.N., Don Draper is NOT a real person!” That’s true. But neither is the Barack Obama that’s running for President.