When you’re trying to convince Iowa Republicans to come out in the cold and spend some time caucusing for you, it makes a certain amount of sense to say that you’re the most anti-abortion, anti-Planned Parenthood candidate in the race, particularly if you don’t think you have the luxury of worrying about how that will play in the general election. So, I get what Ted Cruz was doing last night. It makes me sick, but I get it.

However, Carly Fiorina is just a piece of work. I’ll admit, she fielded a pretty offbeat question:

Matt Johnson, an organizer with the group Direct Action Everywhere, was the last person Fiorina called on during her town hall at the Iowa Pork Congress, an annual event celebrating Iowa’s sprawling pork industry. Johnson read from a piece of paper to ask Fiorina how it could “ever be acceptable” to kill pigs “simply because they’re in a weak and vulnerable position.”

“These animals are individuals with unique personalities,” Johnson said. “They like to play, and oftentimes many of them are very affectionate. They have a vibrance about them and an emotional intelligence and a curiosity about them, very similar to cats and dogs, and similar to children. Knowing this, how could it ever be acceptable to unnecessarily exploit, harm, and kill someone simply because they’re in a weak and vulnerable position and they happen to be born differently than ourselves?”

Sounds like a playful way of using the language of the pro-life movement to support animal rights. Was he hoping to reach the audience’s moral compass or simply punking them?

In either case, Fiorina didn’t get the irony.

“I really wish there was that much passion in that young man for unborn children as there are for pigs,” she said. “We have to take back the character of this nation.”

To make the episode picture-perfect, as he was escorted out, Matt Johnson held up a poster of two cute little piglets.

If Fiorina had just declared that she’s pro-bacon she would have won the argument without looking like a humorless fool who doesn’t understand when she’s being mocked.

The only upside for her was that her response won’t earn her any more Pinocchios.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com