Political Ads

Michigan Candidate: Vote for Me, I Don't Have A Penis

She's not the only one.

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Dana Nessel, a former prosecutor and current criminal defense/civil rights lawyer, wants to be the Democrats' nominee for attorney general of Michigan. She released an ad this week touting her lack of a penis as a qualification:

"If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it's that we need more women in positions of power, not less," Nessel explains in the spot. "So when you're choosing Michigan's next attorney general, ask yourself this: Who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate who doesn't have a penis? I'd say so."

Dana Nessel

It's a deft ad, capitalizing on one of the largest news stories of the year to highlight a perceived advantage and to earn some free media. But it's also a symptom of a broken two-party system, where the choice so often comes down to selecting the lesser of two evils. Just how low has the bar been set when you can run on a promise not to be a male sexual harasser?

Where do such false choices lead? To enthusiastic defenses of candidates accused of sexual misconduct with minors. Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore seems to have recovered much of the support he may have lost when he was first accused of molesting a teen. One big reason for that may be how many Democrats have been reticent to force out people accused of sexual misconduct in their own ranks. By covering for their colleagues, they offered Moore voters a fresh model of excusing a politician's abuses.

It's stunning, but not surprising, how quickly the clarity of judgment on such misconduct was lost when the accusations spread to the political world. Partisans' tribal instincts have fueled a kind of whataboutism that hasn't really taken off in Hollywood, making the cost of inaction comfortably low. As my colleague Elizabeth Nolan Brown explained in The New York Times, "corporations are susceptible to the moral suasion of the public" in a way the public sector is not. So the jig is up for sex predators in Hollywood and the media a lot faster than for those attracted to the halls of government.

Sadly, Nessel's lack of a penis doesn't mean she'll be unable to perpetuate a system that protects and promotes predators. The former prosecutor's preliminary platform doesn't even include an obligatory nod to substantive criminal justice reform in its Civil Rights Enforcement section.

In the last few years, Democratic candidates have become skilled in appropriating the language of criminal justice reform without offering much substantive in the way of actual policies. They earn the votes of many people who say they are concerned with the criminal justice system anyway, because "the other side" often doesn't even bother to pretend to care about the issue. (President Trump, the other side's boss, actively promotes police brutality.)

If it comes to it, Republicans can appropriate Nessel's vote-for-someone-without-a-penis pitch too. At least one woman, state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, is running on the Republican side.

NEXT: Declining to Bake a Gay Wedding Cake Is Not the Same As Banning Gay Marriage

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  1. Pure awesome.

    What?

  2. They always lie in those ads…

  3. I’ve got enough dick for both of us babe, believe you me.

  4. I would cry tears of joy if even one person said “We need less positions of power.”

    1. This is how I know the Libertarian Moment ain’t here yet. This has still led to almost no analysis of the aspect of power. The corrupting influence, and that by lessening the power these individuals hold it lessens their ability to commit bad acts with impunity.

      1. This has still led to almost no analysis of the aspect of power.

        Not even in the same article among the writers, top to bottom, at Reason. If there was an article that segued to a reduction of power via these issues rather than treating it as the death of the patriarchy (finally!) I must’ve missed it.

        1. If I squint I can see the ENB article getting at this idea. The big advantage of markets is that power is lessened because it becomes largely voluntary. There will always be external forces, but in general with private entities they have much less power over forcing you to subsume yourself to them.

          As much as I defend ENB though, that is probably a generous reading of that article. I think it is an underdeveloped topic at times, even though I view it as one of the core ideas and advantages of libertarians.

          1. So you’re saying vaginas are weak.

            1. I refuse to take an absolutist stance on this, but in my experience they couldn’t take what I was giving.

              1. What BUCS was giving to the vaginas was a four-hour lecture on why Cowboy Bebop is overrated, followed by vigorous noogies.

                1. You’re a DBZ forever kinda guy, right? Or maybe Ranma.

                  BTW, the wife told me someone is doing a live action bebop. I’m sure that will turn out well.

    2. I would cry tears of joy if even one less person had garbage grammar and instead stated, “we need fewer positions of power.”

      1. But moar sex positions, amirite?

        1. No. Real men fuck only on their backs.

          1. Don’t be so lazy.

        2. The correct usage is ‘less fartherer’.

      2. Crusty only eats out of the grocery store dumpster to protest their “Express lane – 5 items or less” sign.

      3. We need one more position of power to correct such errors.

    3. I was going to say it just now until I saw your comment. A true libertarian eats tears, they don’t shed them. I’m just embarrassed for you now.

  5. So we can count her out of the ‘cocks for glocks’ and ‘vagina hat’ rallies then too, right?

    I can’t wait to see the political ad with a giant phallus with a Gadsden flag bumper sticker running down little immigrant/minority kids.

    1. Sounds japanese.

    2. An Oscar Meyer wiener mobile with a Gadsden flag running down children.

  6. If it comes to it, Republicans can appropriate Nessel’s vote-for-someone-without-a-penis pitch too. At least one woman, state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, is running on the Republican side.

    I can only assume that is pronounced shitmaker, and that is awesome.

  7. Alt-right losers will probably accuse her of “playing identity politics,” but this is an excellent ad. I hope in 2020 when the Democrats nominate Hillary again, or maybe Kamala Harris or Kristen Gillenbrand, they use this approach.

    1. I’m just waiting for the “vote for the candidate who isn’t a bitch” ad.

    2. Too obviously parody. D-.

      1. Also, pretty sure it’s Kirsten, not Kristen, and a real lefty would know that.

    3. Yeah because getting into Libya and leaving a trail of blood and tears in your wake isn’t nearly as bad as some guy pulling his dick out.

  8. Seems like a pretty transphobic candidate to me.

  9. Just this morning I noted in a comment on ENB’s Lauer post that the #Me Too movement was on its way to becoming a joke, because of the increasingly trivial claims of women and the increasingly extreme goals of its supporters.

    I also guessed in about 10-20 years it would be viewed with as much respect as purveyors of the Satanic Abuse scare are today.

    After viewing ads like this if anything I overestimated how long it would take for the feminists to self destruct; the movement aapears to have already jumped the shark and become a parody of itself.

    If women really want men to take their complaints seriously then they need to police their own ranks and purge anti-male bigots such as Ms. Nessel. Otherwise, we will assume this just another scam and vote for people like Roy Moore just to piss them off.

    1. I also guessed in about 10-20 years it would be viewed with as much respect as purveyors of the Satanic Abuse scare are today.

      To be fair, sexual harassment actually happens, unlike satanic ritual child abusers.

  10. How many female teachers have been jailed for using their classrooms as their personal stud farms in the last few years? Abuse of authority and position transcend the sexes, her point is invalid.

    1. Well, it’s still valid as stated. She won’t be showing anyone her penis.

      Although, why should be take her word for it? If she’s going to run on “I have no penis”, I think we need some proof in these days of gender fluidity and all that.

      1. Indeed. I demand proof of this claim.

        1. I read that as “proof of this clam”. I’m a bad person.

        2. DLAM-
          I read this as “proof of this clam”. I’m a bad person.

          1. Squirrels ate the first post, then spit it out after the second post.

    2. We live in a culture wherein a prosecutor will appear on the local news and claim, with a straight face, that a 17 year old boy can be permanently damaged by having sex with a 30 year old woman. Well let’s poll the victims here. “All right stud farm boys, how many of you have been damaged by your encounter with this woman? I don’t see any hands. Okay how many think it was pretty fucking awesome? Looks like 100% of hands raised to me. You guys with both hands up put one down so we can get a count here. And you guys with one hand in your pants, hit the shower.”

      1. You’d be OK with it if the boy was ten.

  11. “appropriating the language …. without offering much substantive in the way of actual policies.”

    Unfortunately, Libertarian candidates (and the national office) do this too. Lots of preaching to the choir and “less government, lower taxes, fewer wars” dog-whistling without coming up with any coherent and realistic policies to get there.

  12. How are those gay guys gonna get elected because they have penises?

    What is Team Blue gonna do?

  13. Our current sheriff won on a platform of, “I’m a female Democrat.” That’s the whole thing. I read her entire website looking for a position on *any* issue actually related to the office she was running for, without success.

  14. Just a note, when the female politician fucks up on the job, her gender is never an issue.

    1. What the hell is the fireplace in the background? It just seems awkward. Like they wanted to ad warmth and character to the add but maintain absurd amounts of neutrality. It looks like a fireplace you’d have in a mental hospital or in a Tim Burton film.

      I’m also put off by the fact that she is literally looking down her nose at the camera for more than half the ad.

      1. They should have had a Chevy Caprice on blocks. You know, to show she can do… stuff just as good as a man can do it… I think.

        1. Starting off with her splitting wood would’ve been… awesome.

  15. “If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that we need more women in positions of power, not less,” Nessel explains in the spot.

    But not more women in positions of drywalling, coal mining or sewer line-digging? Places where women are far more underrepresented than in prestige “positions of power”?

    1. Funny how they never advocate for equal death day.

  16. She must have missed the season premiere of Vikings.

  17. She stole McConnel’s campaign ad!

  18. She doesn’t have a penis according to her…the voters demand proof!

  19. “”If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that we need more women in positions of power, not less,” Nessel explains in the spot.”

    It’s always nice to have someone who doesn’t understand the lesson available to explain things.

  20. Ed, you think this ad is “deft?” It’s ridiculous. The parodies literally write themselves. I can imagine the bumper stickers:

    NESSEL. NO PENIS!

    VOTE WISELY…VOTE DICKLESS

    NESSEL. SHE HAS NO PENIS, BUT SHE SURE HAS BALLS!

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