Iowa Veterinary School Study: 47 Cows Correctly Identified Iran On A Map, Outperforming 47 GOP Senators By Huge Margin

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Michael JF Matheron, March 12, 2015. (NOTE: Hyperlinks color)

Today, the partisanship whirlwind consuming Congress powered up substantially due to an Iowa veterinary school study that would normally go unreported because its conclusions reveal nothing we don’t already know. Yet, the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s report of its novel bovine intelligence intervention program unleashed a herd of raised national eyebrows signaling increased embarrassment for Republicans. The damage caused to the GOP-controlled Senate is wide and deep chiefly because the same 47 GOP senators who failed to outscore cows in the Iowa bovine study also were the same GOP senators who signed the ill-advised March 9th letter to Iran implicitly criticizing the Obama administration’s nuclear control talks with that country. [Iran letter, text and signatories]

The Department of Bovine Intelligence Task Force study was conducted on January 9th, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. Gathered at the testing site in separate barns were 47 Iowa dairy cows, 47 GOP senators, and another 47 cow cohort of untrained cows used as a control group. All groups were provided a 17-foot by 14-foot elementary school world map (see below), snacks, beverages, grass, and a chicken dinner following the testing. At test time, each participant had 30-minutes to find Iran on the map and to label it, cows with a hoof print, senators with a 3-foot by 3-foot red dot.

Redefining “Cow Stupid”  Although the entire report, Iowa’s Cows Shown To Benefit From Early Childhood Education Intervention, Results May Be Replicable With Goats and Iowa State Politicians, will be embargoed until November 9, 2016, a quick examination of the results and comments provided in the summary make a strong case for the full acceptance of the landmark achievement of the Department of Bovine Intelligence Task Force. Cows who completed the three-month pre-test geography program showed unprecedented increases in spatial intelligence and general decision-making. Senators, who also completed the pre-test instructional program, and despite assumed neurological advantages, failed in a breathtaking-even-for-a-GOP-senator manner, scoring zero correct answers.

Cows were split in their opinion regarding a potential rematch suggested by Mitch McConnell.

Cows were split in their opinion regarding a potential rematch suggested by Mitch McConnell.

This outcome shocked the few Senate staffers who bet against the cows in secret GOP office pools.

“I knew they were stupid – beyond comprehension stupid – but stupider than cow stupid? Now that surprised me a bit,” said one 28-year GOP staffer who’d “lost a year’s pay” in the venture.

The news crossed the street from the Capitol, where the Library of Congress put remedial class development on the fast track.  Speaking anonymously, The Librarian of Congress, pondered:

“We don’t know where to start. Middle school? Elementary school? Day care? How remedial does one have to go to educate a sitting Republican senator so he or she catches up with a cow?”

Early Euphoria Went Hooves Up.  Back in Early December 2014, GOP senators were enthusiastic when asked to participate. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s reaction was typical:

“I’ll do anything for Iowa, and honestly, I don’t even know whether Iowa has a 2016 GOP presidential primary, or caucus, or whatever. I choose to use American-style liberty to compete against cows on a geography test! More Americans should compete against cows but they feel imprisoned in Obama’s America, and shackled to improved health care outcomes under the jack boot of Obamacare. And I’m a doctor . . . Where was I?”

As it turned out, Senator Paul failed to outsmart a single Iowa dairy cow, all 47 of whom correctly identified Iran on an oversized elementary school world map. The senator called it quits before the allotted 30 minute time period, without even hazarding a guess. Later that day, he accused Department of Bovine Intelligence Task Force staff of over-regulating the time period.  [Update: After this morning’s report release, Senator Paul denied he took part in the testing, despite video revealing he was there. In one segment he fought with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over possession of a pencil. More on this apparent inconsistency as the story develops.]

In all, the entire 47 cow test group quickly (average 37 seconds) identified Iran on the test map: all 47 senators did not despite each senator spending the full 30 minute period pondering the problem (except for Senator Paul (above) and Senator Cruz (below)). Here is the map used for the test. This particular map was presented to Dairy Cow #33, and you can see her hoof print centers on Iran, precisely.

Maps_World_Child's version - cow id's Iran

Udder Failure.  Summing up, last January, all 46 of Senator Paul’s Republican Senate colleagues showed a breathtaking unfamiliarity with the location of Iran, a country that, three months later on March 9th, each would sign a letter to that country’s leaders undermining President Obama’s nuclear negotiations.  Only a few examples of named senators were  in today’s Iowa State Task Force On Bovine Intelligence report summary, but, according to Iowa State Veterinarian College staff members, these named senators are “not the most egregious failures, by far.”

Here’s what we can report as of today:

Freshman Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, author of the Iran letter, scored a goose egg when he inexplicably identified the shark off the southwest tip of Africa as Iran (see map). He shook off his mistake, casually claiming:John McCain and Lindsey Graham as Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob

“As a United States Senator I may revise maps with a stroke of my pen; ask Senator McCain.”

We did. He declined comment.

As for Senator McCain’s own test results, he picked  Australia as his choice for Iran. Casually irascible about his mistake, he characterized it as a “reasonable choice”:

“I saw the map, I saw that it looked reasonable to me and I checked it off, that’s all. I check off on lots of maps.”

Accompanying McCain, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. and another senator who may declare for the 2016 presidential contest, also chose Australia, explaining to reporters:

“I saw the map, I saw that it looked reasonable to me and I checked it off, that’s all. I check off on lots of maps; ask Senator McCain.”

We did not.

2016 presidential contender Texas Senator Ted Cruz produced the most unusual response to the map test when he accused testing staff members of Satanism, demonizing the test map as “straight from the pits of Hell,” and as a map that

“did not represent God’s earth as I believe it to be. Where’s Texas? Where’s Canada? Where’s North America?” 

Staff members exempted the senator from the test, scoring him a zero, over his protest, still in pre-trial discovery.  

Cows Rule, Senators Drool. Republican senators involved in the Iran letter and the bovine study will likely lay low awaiting  Library of Congress remedial classes. Forty-seven very special Iowa cows, however, will be kicking up their hooves and shaking their udders while living in the limelight. For example, Secretary of State John Kerry quickly invited them to Lausanne, Switzerland to assist in the negotiations, now in the home stretch. After that gig, the 47 incredible dairy cows will sort through other invitations to world capitols, music festivals, county fairs, university appearances, and benefits for disadvantaged bovines.

And we hear from their spokesbull that 2016 will find them organizing political events on behalf of their favored Democratic candidates for offices from state assembly member to President of the United States.

Political operatives, line up!

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Michael Matheron

From Presidents Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush, I was a senior legislative research and policy staff of the nonpartisan Library of Congress Congressional Research Service (CRS). I'm partisan here, an "aggressive progressive." I'm a contributor to The Fold and Nation of Change. Welcome to They Will Say ANYTHING! Come back often! . . . . . Michael Matheron, contact me at

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