While regular readers of Campaign Desk may believe the world begins and ends with politics, it’s time for a reality check. Let’s go to the New Jersey State Fair and Sussex County Farm & Horse Show in Frankford.

Jim Lockwood of The Star-Ledger sets the scene with this opening:

Her round pink skin glistened in the hot sun and her nostrils flared with a sense of urgency, as she dove headlong into the water and swam like a lifeguard on a mission.

“Baywatch”? Not quite.

Lockwood introduces us to Spamela Sue Hamderson, one of Robinson’s Pig Paddling Porkers, a popular attraction which is drawing about 300 spectators per show this week. He quotes owner Randy Ross:

“People think pigs are fat and lazy and just lay around all day on the farm and eat. When they see these pigs come out of the gate, dive off that ramp and fly in that pool, it amazes them. Pigs are natural born swimmers.”

The grand prize is an Oreo.

Swimming alongside Spamela are some other crowd-pleasers, including Arnold Schwarzenhogger, Hammy Faye Bacon, Britney Spareribs and George W. Bush Hog. So far, no Kerry contender. According to Ross: “There’s just some names you can’t fit with pig names.” Kerry’s, apparently, is one of them.

Too bad. Maybe there are places where politics just don’t belong, but we see a definite door-buster here. George W. Bush Hog versus Swine Kerry, shoulder to shoulder in the pool, racing for the finish line.

Turns out pig-racing isn’t that much different from presidential politics. Says Ross: “The winner gets a whole cookie; losers get the crumbs.”

Susan Q. Stranahan

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Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.