Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is a pretty big fan of Batman. So much so that he’s made cameos in five different caped crusader films.
The video team over at Roll Call have compiled a montage of them all:
Of course, we’re not big fans of Sen. Leahy. He’s one of the most partisan, vitriolic and nasty Democrats in the Senate. And of course, that’s saying a lot. In general, when it comes to Sen. Leahy, we associate ourselves with Vice President Dick Cheney’s remarks that fateful day in 2004 on the Senate floor.
Yet, despite our reluctance to draw anything admirable from Sen. Leahy’s way-too-long career, there is something quite instructive in this story that goes well beyond an obvious vanity play by Bernie Sanders’ senior colleague.
Leahy’s ability to ingratiate himself into the world of Bruce Wayne and Gotham afforded him the opportunity to move legislation through the Senate with the help of his friends over at DC Comics. The way Leahy tells it to Roll Call, Batman ended up pushing a bill through with unanimous support:
Leahy has also used his love of comics in his larger push to end the export of land mines when he asked DC Comics to create a special comic devoted to land mines, for which he wrote a preface. The story, entitled Batman: Death of Innocents, has Batman saving a girl in a conflict zone and trying to navigate through a minefield.
Leahy said there was a large debate about the nature of the ending, where the girl Batman has saved sees what she thinks is a shiny toy but turns out to be a land mine which explodes and kills her.
“Our point was and I argued for the ending was there are no happy endings with land mines,” he said. Leahy said he had the book on every senator’s desk.
“A lot of senators read it but they brought it home to their families and they said, ‘yeah you ought to ban those darn things,'” he said, leading to the bill passing unanimously.
No matter your position on land mines, the fact that Batman’s story line was shaped by Leahy and then influenced the Senate to unanimously approve his legislation shows us the power of popular culture and how it can be used and manipulated to directly advance a political agenda.
Conservatives generally hate that sort of thing, but it’s not going away. We can get bitter, or we can get better. And yes, I can predict the comments on this post from readers who actually brag about how they haven’t watched TV since “Murder, She Wrote” and haven’t seen a movie since “Jaws 2” disappointed them.
Stop saying popular culture “doesn’t matter.”
Instead, conservatives need to get in the game, because some comic book writers actually lean more to the right than the left. And as Bill Whittle once pointed out, video gamers and the gaming industry are also perfectly suited to conservatism.
Get in the game, conservatives. There’s no reason why a guy like Leahy gets to corner the market on super hero cameos for politicians. Demand equal time and stop avoiding the popular culture.