- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 19, 2012

President Obama is being compared to Batman. That’s right. The Obama campaign believes the new blockbuster movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” set to be released this weekend, is an artistic reflection of political reality. According to many liberals, Mr. Obama is more than a leader. He is a real-life superhero, endowed with fantastical, almost superhuman powers. The Obama cult of personality has now reached absurd levels. Even Josef Stalin or Mao Zedong never said he was Superman.

Democratic surrogates are arguing that Mr. Obama is like the caped crusader, who defends ordinary citizens — the 99 percent — from rapacious, greedy villains — the 1 percent — bent on plundering American society. In the much-anticipated Hollywood film, Batman’s arch-nemesis is “Bane,” a gas-breathing bad guy who breaks the hero’s back. The Obama camp alleges that Bane stands for “Bain,” Mitt Romney’s investment firm that they say is responsible for foreign outsourcing and destroying jobs. According to the analogy, Mr. Romney’s supposed vulture capitalism will do to America what Bane does to Gotham city in the movie: destroy it. As the superhero analogy goes, only the Dark Knight (Mr. Obama) stands in the way.

“It has been observed that movies can reflect the national mood,” said Chris Lehane, a senior Democratic adviser and former aide to President Bill Clinton. “Whether it is spelled B-a-i-n and being put out by the Obama campaign or B-a-n-e and being [put] 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 adds.

This “Romney equals Bane” argument also has been picked up by countless liberal blogs. There is only one problem: Batman is not real. He doesn’t exist. He is a comic book character, a figment of the imagination. The Democrats are resorting to fantasy in their desperate effort to demonize Mr. Romney.

Yet it provides a window into Mr. Obama’s entire presidency. The administration has been predicated upon one seminal illusion: Mr. Obama is competent. The truth is the exact opposite. This, however, has not stopped the Democrats from engaging in a relentless propaganda campaign. Soaring deficits, economic sclerosis, higher gas prices, national decline — according to the liberal narrative, it’s all George W. Bush’s fault. The result of this narrative is a president dangerously disconnected from reality.

America is heading off a fiscal cliff. Mr. Obama has amassed nearly $5 trillion in debt. The total national debt is close to $16 trillion. We are now the most indebted nation in history. If long-term entitlement programs are included, America’s unfunded liabilities approach $100 trillion. No country can dig itself out from such a vast, almost bottomless financial pit. Mr. Obama’s answer: Add another multitrillion-dollar entitlement — Obamacare — that the United States cannot afford. He is sealing our doom.

In early 2009, Mr. Obama vowed that, should Congress pass his $831 billion stimulus package, unemployment would not go above 8 percent. In fact, it has risen. Despite an orgy of public spending, the jobless rate now remains stuck at 8.2 percent. America has been gripped by economic stagnation and low growth for more than 40 consecutive months. Among Latinos, the unemployment rate is 11 percent. For blacks, it is a whopping 14.4 percent. If one includes Americans in part-time jobs but who want full-time work — the “underemployed” —and those who have simply given up and dropped out of the labor market, then the real unemployment rate is 14.9 percent. These are Great Depression levels. Instead of acknowledging our economic crisis, Mr. Obama insists America is “on the road to recovery.”

The presidential campaign has taken on a surreal, comic book-like quality. The Obama team — aided and abetted by the media establishment — is also portraying Mr. Romney as the second-coming of Gordon Gekko, the cut-throat corporate plutocrat played by Michael Douglas in the Hollywood movie, “Wall Street.” Mr. Romney’s Swiss bank accounts, offshore investments in the Cayman Islands, refusal to release more tax returns, and alleged outsourcing of jobs that took place during his tenure at Bain Capital — all of this supposedly shows that he is too out of touch, untransparent and privileged to be president. At a recent speech, Mr. Obama said a presidential candidate “must be an open book.”

He, however, remains a closed book. Mr. Obama has not released his college transcripts, health records and even his original birth certificate remains shrouded in controversy. He has swept under the rug his close 20-year association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the radical, anti-American pastor. He refuses to disclose the fact that his intellectual mentor was Frank Marshall Davis, an avowed member of the U.S. Communist Party. He has misrepresented his strong ties to Marxist terrorists, such as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. In short, Mr. Obama is the epitome of a secretive, America-hating, anti-capitalist pseudo-intellectual, whose international socialism is completely outside the mainstream.

Liberals are wrong. Mr. Obama is not Batman — not even close. The Dark Knight never ran down his own country or preached collectivism. He personified individualism and patriotism — the very opposite of Mr. Obama. Rather, the president is more akin to the Joker, a self-absorbed megalomaniac, who wreaks havoc upon the good citizens of Gotham. This is now our reality, and the joke is on us.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.