The Dark Knight Rises ' Bane Might Have Been a Swipe at Mitt Romney, But He's Far From Alone

Last week, noted conservative commentator -- and, apparently, cultural critic -- Rush Limbaugh battered the airwaves with a fresh conspiracy that had somehow eluded the greater public.

Limbaugh called shenanigans in relation to the The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise. More specifically, Rush thought something was fishy about the name of the main villain in the film:

Have you heard this new movie, the Batman movie, what is it, The Dark Knight Lights Up or whatever the name is. That's right, Dark Knight Rises. Lights Up, same thing. Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane. The villain in The Dark Knight Rises is named Bane, B-a-n-e. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran and around which there's now this make-believe controversy? Bain. The movie has been in the works for a long time. The release date's been known, summer 2012 for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire-breathing four eyed whatever it is villain in this movie is named Bane?

I'm not going to doubt that Limbaugh is an authority on this subject as he must watch a lot of action movies -- how else would he have cultivated such a grand imagination, love of weapons and robust vocabulary? And while he's been accused of perhaps being a little over the top in the past, I have to commend him because I feel like he is spot on with his assessment in this case. Credit to Christopher Nolan -- who reportedly finalized the movie's story in February 2010 -- for having the foresight to know Mitt Romney would be the Republican nominee two and a half years later. And if that wasn't enough, Nolan also allegedly took into account the name of the corporation that Romney used to run, Bain Capital, while naming his villain for the movie. It's remarkable that Nolan foresaw that Bain Capital would come under scrutiny around the release of the movie which again, occurred two and a half years after he decided on the story. Many people have called Nolan a genius for his cinematic exploits, but he really outdid himself here.

While I do think Mr. Limbaugh hit the nail on the head, I can't help but feel like he overlooked the many, many examples of movie characters who were clearly created just to take swipes at political figures. But not to worry, I decided to take it upon myself to acknowledge these characters who were created, in some cases decades before the candidate rose to prominence, merely as a half-baked attempt to sully the name of a politician.

The first and most obvious example in Newt Gingrich, who has been taking shots from Hollywood since the 1940s, when Man killed Bambi. Gingrich can be fairly convincingly linked to every major motion picture villain the past few decades, although in recent months the prevailing argument is that he is most obviously compared to either a Batman foe or a Bond villain. Personally, I'm shocked that he managed to carry the Georgia primary last spring despite being the obvious inspiration for Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazzard. The voters in Hazzard County, Georgia must have been horrified.

And let's not forget Josh Brolin's portrayal of George W. Bush in the Oliver Stone movie W. Watching this character, I couldn't help but conclude that Brolin was in fact just making a statement about Texas governor Rick Perry, who just so happens to more or less share everything in common with George W. Bush. The embarrassment from this smear campaign clearly hit Perry hard as even years later he remained too flustered to remember his own political platform -- or three governmental departments.

But Republican politicians aren't the only ones taking fire -- surely I'm not the only person who noticed the pervasive similarities between New York fashionista/liberal Carrie Bradshaw and five-term senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry. Even though they're spelled differently -- similar to Bane and Bain -- whenever I hear Kerry, I just connect it to an out-of-touch rich Northeastern liberal, with a flair for fashion and an obsession with spending. This is the type of word association that probably cost him the election, and I can't believe Rush managed to overlook it.

Now Herman Cain -- and I'm really shocked Mr. Limbaugh never credited him for this -- took the bold stance of attacking these sinister movie makers head on by running a campaign so outlandish and whimsical, there was literally no way to possibly invent a character to lampoon him. Such a figure would simply be too far-fetched to possibly be taken seriously. Cain was so dedicated to breaking the mold of politicians berated by Hollywood, that he struck back by stealing lyrics from a song in a beloved Hollywood movie to inspire his devoted followers. I am of course referring to "Power of One," the ballad played during the end credits of cinematic classic Pokemon: The Movie 2000.

But as much as these blatant negative portrayals by movie characters can hurt a politician, we shouldn't discredit how much a positive portrayal can help them. I'll never forget the time Barack Obama and Jeff Goldblum saved the world from aliens.