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This Campaign Ad Looks More Like a Female-Led Action Movie Trailer, Which Is a Trend We Can Get Behind

A Congresswoman who does her own stunts?

Valerie Plame is a former CIA operative whose identity was leaked in 2003, who then went on to become a memoirist and spy novelist. Now she’s also running for Congress and has released what might be my favorite campaign ad of all time.

In the video, Plame says that the outing of her identity was an act of “revenge” against her husband by Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby. Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in relation to that leak, and while George W. Bush commuted his sentence to only 30 months, Donald Trump offered him a full pardon last year.

“My service was cut short when my own government betrayed me,” she says in the video, but her choice to run isn’t just about her own vendettas. (It’s also not not about her own grudge, as she also looks into the camera and tells Trump directly that she’s “got a few scores to settle.”)

“Now I’m running for Congress because we’re going backwards on national security, health care, and women’s rights. We need to turn our country around” she says in voiceover as she speeds down a dirt road in a Camaro before halting in a 180-degree turn. “And yes, the CIA really does teach us to drive like this,” she adds as she walks away from the car and tears off her sunglasses in a pure action-movie moment.

This is by no means an endorsement of Plame–I know nothing about her policy platform and she has an incredibly problematic history of sharing antisemitic articles on Twitter–but I have to say, I am a giant fan of this trend of women basing their political campaigns on a foundation of unabashed badassery.

Plame’s ad might be the closest to an actual action movie, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen this kind of message. Earlier this summer, retired Air Force Colonel Kim Olson announced her Congressional candidacy with a video that legit earned the Captain Colonel Marvel comparison. (Okay, it’s more Lawson vibes, but the point stands.)

Back in 2017, Amy McGrath highlighted the fact that she tore down the barriers standing between her and being the kind of kickass Marine pilot she dreamed of being. (She repeated that message this summer, specifically calling out Mitch McConnell for trying to stand in her way.)

Like many of you, I have … complicated feelings about the American military. So in no way do I think these are the only sorts of campaign ads we should be seeing. (I’m just in favor of more women running for office, period!) But physical prowess is not something that has traditionally been seen as something women can use as a selling point for themselves in most fields, politics definitely included. So as far as trends go, this is an exciting middle finger to everyone who’s ever tried to keep strong women down.

(image: screencap)
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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.