“The Dark Knight Rises" is now in theaters, and while Batman’s deep voice makes me weak at the knees (and makes Justin Bieber's new "manly" voice sound like a baby chipmunk), I’ve always been a bigger fan of Robin. Sidekicks are often the masterminds behind an operation. They’re the ultimate advisors who rescue our heroes while our heroes rescue the world.
Much like Batman has Robin and Sherlock has Holmes, many well-known activists and politicians have “sidekicks” of their own. This is an ode to sidekicks who, as far as we’re concerned, are just another kind of superhero.
+ MLK Jr. and Bayard Rustin
Martin Luther King Jr. was the face of the Civil Rights Movement, but many of the events he attended and philosophies he upheld were actually the work Bayard Rustin. Rustin was an influential advisor to many civil rights leaders and the first to introduce MLK Jr. to the concept of peaceful protest. He organized a number of the Movement’s key events, including The Great March on Washington during which MLK Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Rustin was also an openly gay man during a time in which few people of his standing were. Some say he preferred to work behind the scenes -- to be the “sidekick” rather than the “superhero” -- to keep talk of his personal life from overshadowing his professional one. He became a gay rights activist in the 70s.
+ President Carter and Walter Mondale
Walter Mondale, Vice President during the Carter administration, made being a president’s “sidekick” mean so much more than just showing up to work with tighty whities atop neon tights. He was the Watson to Carter’s Sherlock -- turning the role of VP from figurehead to advisor by becoming the first with an office in the West Wing, the first to receive daily intelligence briefings, and the first to share his opinions during White House meetings…even when they differed from others’. Mondale was much respected, and changed the role and importance of U.S.Vice Presidents forever.
+ President Obama and Michelle Obama
Judging by the President’s dainty grip on that there light saber and Michelle’s, “I can do better” stance, we’re willing to bet Michelle is the real hero in the Obama household! Hero or sidekick, she holds the First Family down and works hard to ensure that all American families stay active and healthy.
+ Mitt Romney and ???
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is set to pick a running mate any day now. Here are a few VP hopefuls and their greatest strengths and weaknesses:
Senator Rob Portman, Ohio.
(+) Has White House experience. Former trade and budget director for George W. Bush.
(-) Presided over the budget when the deficit doubled.
Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana.
(+) Indian American who showed great problem-solving skills after Hurricane Gustav and the Gulf oil spill.
(-) First supported Rick Perry's campaign.
Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin
(+) Loved by Republicans for his take on the U.S. budget and support of tax cuts.
(-) Democrats may open fire on him, saying he doesn't care about the 99%.
Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice
(+) White House experience. Being an African American woman, she may sway voters on the fence who value racial and sexual diversity.
(-) A little more liberal than many Republicans. Closely tied to Bush and the war on Iraq.
Former Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota.
(+) Authentic Main Street conservative from South Saint Paul, Minnesota with blue collar roots. Two-term governor of a swing state. Balanced Minnesota state budget without raising taxes.
(-) Coined “Obamneycare,” suggesting few differences existed between Romney and Obama’s healthcare plans years ago. Many say his failed 2012 presidential bid was due to lack of a fiery presence.
Vote for your favorite VP hopeful below! Shout out to all the sidekicks who hold their heroes down. Really, you're all just heroes with more or less muscle mass!