In 1996, Fred Tuttle, a 77-year-old Vermont dairy farmer, became the unlikely star of Man With a Plan, a mockumentary about a 77-year-old Vermont dairy farmer who runs for Congress so he can pay for his dad's hip surgery. Two years later, Tuttle invested all of $200 in his own real-life campaign and ran for U.S. Senate against multi-millionaire businessman Jack McMullen.
During one debate with McMullen, Tuttle asked the Massachusetts native how to pronounce Calais, a town in the center of Vermont, and how many teats a Holstein cow had. McMullen missed both questions, and ultimately lost the Republican primary too. Tuttle's opponent in the general election was incumbent Democrat Patrick Leahy and, although the farmer said he'd probably vote for himself, he encouraged the rest of the state to re-elect Leahy. "He knows how many tits on a cow," Tuttle said at the time.
Leahy beat Tuttle in that election—and he thoroughly rinsed McMullen in 2004. The now-80 year old is currently serving his eighth term, and he became the president pro tempore of the Senate last week when the Democrats took control. Although Vermont's junior senator, 79-year-old Bernie Sanders, has held the internet's attention for the past week because of his mittens and his eternal normcore vibe, Leahy has been doing his own Reddit-worthy shit for the past two decades.
Since 1995, Leahy has made periodic appearances in the Batman universe, in major flicks, in the animated series, and in the introduction to comics anthologies. So yeah, the senator who is presiding over former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial has been in more Batman movies than any actor who has actually played Batman. (When occasional Batman Ben Affleck testified before the Senate Committee of Foreign Affairs in 2015, he looked at Leahy and said that he needed to "acknowledge [his] costar.")
Batman made his first appearance in an issue of Detective Comics that was released on March 30, 1939. Patrick Leahy was born almost exactly one year later, on March 31, 1940, and he was one of the iconic superhero's earliest fans. According to The New York Times, he got his first Batman comic book when he was four, which was about the same time he scored a library card at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont.
"Entering Batman’s world through my imagination opened an early door into a lifelong love of reading though I’m sure my parents would have preferred comic books starring Donald Duck to one about a millionaire in a bat-suit," Leahy wrote in the forward to Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman. "Especially for kids, and many Americans, the early 1940s and 1950s were sometimes unsettling times in our world. We saw the Batman as a hero who could protect us from forces that we couldn’t control—but that he could."
As far as his Bat-adjacent appearances go, Leahy had his most significant few seconds of screentime during The Dark Knight. The Joker (Heath Ledger) crashes Bruce Wayne's fundraiser for Harvey Dent, and Leahy is the man who confronts him, yelling "We're not intimidated by thugs." The Joker responds by putting his blade against Leahy's cheek and hissing about his daddy issues. "[Ledger] scared the heck out of me with the knife,” Leahy later said. “I didn’t have to act.”
For his other cameos, let us save you some YouTube time: you'll see Leahy for a millisecond behind Jim Carrey's right shoulder in Batman Forever; he and his tuxedo are in the crowd when Poison Ivy goes up for auction in Batman & Robin; he's the voice of the Territorial Governor in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series called "Showdown"; he appears as Senator Purrington in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice; and in The Dark Knight Rises, he's a Wayne Enterprises board member (possibly reprising the minor role he played in The Dark Knight).
In 2008, Leahy convinced Warner Brothers to hold The Dark Knight's world premiere at the Kellogg-Hubbard, his childhood library, which sold more than $17,000 worth of tickets to the screening. He has also donated all of his bat-earnings to its children's wing. "[A]bout every three months, I’ll get a bunch of residual checks," he told The Times Argus in 2019. "They range from 25 cents to sometimes something in the thousands. They all go to the Kellogg-Hubbard [...] I’m happy to do it because it encourages kids to read."
Despite the fact that Robert Pattinson has been filming his twice-delayed Batman debut for the past several months, Leahy hasn't materialized on-set—and he apparently doesn't plan to. "I didn't even seek to be in it," he said last summer. "I have too many other things going on with COVID, with appropriation bills."
And now he has a second impeachment trial to handle too. Forget movie cameos, this dude would probably be OK with just getting a nap.