The newest movie incarnation of DC Comics superhero Batman, which features a protagonist who retroactively unretires to save fictional Gotham City from a ruthless terrorist, is causing a ruckus among Washington politicos, with at least one claiming the film's plotline will subliminally discredit presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney in voters' minds.
On Wednesday, conservative radio talk show host and Romney supporter Rush Limbaugh said during his broadcast the fact that the main antagonist in the flick is named Bane will be a problem for the GOP presidential candidate, especially given current negative publicity surrounding the former Massachusetts governor for his time as chief executive of private equity firm Bain Capital.
This movie, the audience is going to be huge, [a] lot of people are going to see the movie. And it's a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd, Limbaugh said. And they're going to hear 'Bane' in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain. And the thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital, but Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie.
Limbaugh suggested the subliminal link was part of a wide Hollywood conspiracy. But even if that is not taken into account, others have also commented the newest Batman movie, with its underlying themes of class conflict spilling into the streets, will help turn moviegoers' psyche against Romney.
Puts Romney In Continual 'Defense Mode'?
For example, in an interview with the Washington Examiner, conservative commentator Jed Babbin said, Now we have the new Batman movie with super-villain Bane, the comic book bad guy who broke the Bat's back. How long will it take for the Obama campaign to link the two, making Romney the man who will break the back of the economy? Romney can't win if he's constantly on the defensive.
Outside of the Bane-Bain connection, interest in the movie has already led to comparisons that, unintentionally, have made multi-billionaire Mitt Romney look bad when sized up next to multi-billionaire Bruce Wayne, Batman's fictional alter-ego.
A graphic created by H&R Block and released earlier this month, for example, took a tongue-in-cheek approach to interest in Batman, detailing his tax liabilities and comparing them to that of a more financially-humble superhero that has also recently been on the silver screen, Spider-Man.
That graphic has not caught the attention of media types the way the Batman movie has, but if it does, it's surely likely to help fuel new attacks about why, while we know about Spider-Man and Batman's tax bill, Romney's tax records for much of the past decade have not been made a matter of public record.
Still, it's curious the Romney campaign has not sought to use the Batman issue in it's favor. In the fictional world of Gotham City, after all, the rich guy is also the good guy. Romney/Wayne 2012 anyone?