Last week one of them accused her of looking “demented” by straining to smile at the last debate, today they had her back on to respond after the ensuing kerfuffle. She’s getting rave reviews for how she did from righty sites like the Free Beacon, the Federalist, and the Right Scoop, but while I hate to say it, I think the View-ettes were shrewd in how they handled her. They kept her on the defensive the whole time, sometimes unfairly — she tried to rebut Behar point-by-point in the first segment on why Democratic policies aren’t better for women but got filibustered repeatedly — and sometimes pretty effectively by insisting that she explain herself to them instead of vice versa.

Watch below as Behar demands to know why Fiorina thinks she should be exempt from goofs on her looks when “The View” routinely goofs on other politicians. Fiorina could have gone different ways with that. She could have made the point I made in last week’s post that the View panelists, as card-carrying feminists, seem oddly comfortable with a woman candidate being criticized for not smiling enough onstage. The male candidates don’t get knocked for that; if anything, they’re praised for showing righteous anger. Fiorina, meanwhile, gets pressured to show “warmth” or whatever and all the View-ettes can do is laugh that she looked weird. Instead Fiorina went a different way, arguing that them mocking her looks so soon after Trump’s famous insult about Fiorina’s face makes it seem like they didn’t really have a problem with what he said. Behar’s counter to that is dopey: Trump’s running for president, she says, whereas they’re just comedians and insult everyone equally. Well, yes, but Trump insults everyone pretty equally too. He’s practically an insult comic himself, to the point where other candidates are expected to shrug off the shots he takes at them lest it seem like he’s getting under their skin. Why did they have an issue with Trump goofing on Fiorina’s looks when he’s also frequently mumbling about how sweaty Rubio is and how sleepy Carson looks? Behar is so aggressive in accusing Fiorina of a double standard, though, that Fiorina ends up de-escalating, acknowledging that of course the panel is free to speak its mind about anything it pleases. Meanwhile, while remaining civil throughout, Whoopi Goldberg seemed palpably annoyed that Fiorina accused them of holding conservative women to a different standard — and when Fiorina finally gets around to explaining why, the segment is over and Whoopi’s already beginning to wrap it up. All in all, it’s a “win” for Fiorina insofar that it got her in front of a big TV audience for 15 minutes, but if you’re looking for a Republican candidate to put the boots to part of the lefty media here the way the entire conservative Twittersphere has been putting the boots to Politico all day over its Ben Carson/West Point hit piece, you’ll be disappointed.