This summer's much-anticipated Hollywood blockbuster, "The Dark Knight Rises," is getting an unusual boost from Democrats and other foes of Mitt Romney who are eager to tie the Gotham crushing villain to the GOP presidential candidate. Their angle: the mask-wearing, "Venom" gas breathing bad guy has a name that sounds just like Romney's former investment firm that President Barack Obama has been blasting as a jobs killer.
"Bane" is the terrorist in the new movie who drives the caped crusader out of semi-retirement in the final Batman movie. Democrats, who believe they have Romney on the ropes over the president's assault on his leadership at Bain Capital, said the comparisons are too rich to ignore
"It has been observed that movies can reflect the national mood," said Democratic advisor and former Clinton aide Christopher Lehane. "Whether it is spelled Bain and being put out by the Obama campaign or Bane and being out by Hollywood, the narratives are similar: a highly intelligent villain with offshore interests and a past both are seeking to cover up who had a powerful father and is set on pillaging society," he added.
As the Friday release date has neared, liberal blogs were the first to connect Batman's toughest foe with Romney's firm. But now even some conservatives, concerned Romney isn't fighting the Bain attacks hard enough, see a similarity in the epic DC Comics fight and the political campaign.
Conservative commentator Jed Babbin told Secrets, "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," he said.
Even GOP advisor Frank Luntz jumped into the fray. "Hollywood does it again," he told Secrets. "[Romney] had to know all this was coming and he should have done a lot more to prepare for it."
But conservative analyst Greg Muller doesn't buy the connection or the Bain attacks. "Democrats are truly living in fantasy land if they think the Bain story is anything more than a little summertime blues for Romney," he said. "The election will be a referendum on Obama socialism and the Obama economy. Wonder if the Batmobile was made in China."
Democratic strategist Karl Frisch suggests a Romney comparison instead to Mr. Burns, the devilish nuclear power plant owner on the Simpsons. "The similarities are endless."
And even while playing up the Bane-Bain tie, Lehane suggested that Romney is a weak version. "The 'Bain Romney' should at least endeavor to match the comic book Bane in at least one way: prove to be a worthy adversary. Bane never asked Batman to apologize--neither superheroes nor super villains nor candidates for president should ever ask for apologies from their opponents if they are to be taken serious," he said in a reference to Romney's demand of an apology from Obama for his Bain attacks.