Legend of the Senate's Dark Knight
Perhaps Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT-DEM) fancies himself returning each night to his own Batcave where he plots his next plan to strike fear into the hearts of the 'supervillains' operating out of the White House.
As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Leahy has been leading investigations into President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney's involvement in illegally operating in secret, spying on Americans and attempting to turn the Justice Department into an arm of the Republican Party.
Leahy is a huge Batman fan, and his current battles with the White House seem like they would given even the Caped Crusader some trouble.
The Vermont Senator recently finished filming a cameo role in the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Night," Roll Call reported this week, the latest in a string of his Batman cameos. And his idolization of the Gotham-protecting super hero has led Leahy to invoke Batman in Senate speeches and chats with constituents.
In one report from a couple years ago, witnesses saw Leahy wheeling around outside his Senate office on a toy Batmobile he had bought for his grandson. Leahy joked to staffers he wanted to "ride around zapping it and bad guys and exacting justice."
During a chat with high school students in 1996, Leahy said that he "wore a BATMAN shirt to a premier of a Batman movie and had a cameo appearance in another Batman movie." The senator said he donated his paycheck from the films to charity.
In Senate meetings, too, Leahy's Batman fan-dom has crept into official business. At least twice he has mentioned the franchise in hearings or committee meetings.
At a 2000 telecommunications hearing, Leahy asked whether an AOL/Time Warner merger would "speed up the day when I am able to use a single screen and remote to watch the latest Warner Brothers' Batman movie, pause the movie to check my e-mail ... simultaneous use instant messaging technology .. and then return to the movie before finishing up with a cut from my favorite Grateful Dead album or Carlos Santana's 'Supernatural'?"
A year earlier, Leahy worried about online copyright restrictions if someone had posted online "a file document about Batman ... which used the trademark 'Batman.'"
In his earlier appearance in 1997's "Batman & Robin," Leahy was allowed to sit in the Batmobile, but he couldn't drive it, he told students in another online chat. No word whether he was able to fire up the engine this time around.