Grow some ‘cojones’, Arnie tells the Democrats with ballsy gift

He has built an unlikely political career on the bold premise that opponents of tax-cutting Republicanism are a bunch of limp-wristed “girlie men” and Arnold Schwarzenegger is nothing if not consistent in his line of attack.

The Governor of California has written yet another chapter in his colourful personal history by sending his leading Democratic rival a metal sculpture of a pair of bull’s testicles.

Darrell Steinberg, the President of the State Senate, is said to have received the rugby ball-sized artwork last week, as lawmakers weighed up how to cope with a budget crisis that has left California $25bn (£15bn) in the red.

It was accompanied by a handwritten note, suggesting that Mr Steinberg and his left-wing colleagues grow some cojones and make tough choices to cut public spending, which Mr Schwarzenegger deems necessary to stave off the imminent bankruptcy of America’s most populous state.

Sources close to both men told the Los Angeles Times that the gift was a response to a similar gag by Mr Steinberg, who recently sent a package of mushrooms to the Governor’s office, after Mr Schwarzenegger had branded Democratic proposals to raise taxes “hallucinatory”.

Yet the gift was not received well. Mr Steinberg returned the sculpture to its sender with a stern note about the need to protect society’s most vulnerable from cuts in services.

The sudden sense of humour failure appears to represent a calculated attempt to strike a chord with voters who are beginning to lose patience with the inability of successive administrations to balance the books in what is traditionally one of the most prosperous corners of the wealthiest nation on Earth.

California’s government has for years been spending more than it can raise in taxes. The Democrats have a slim Senate majority, allowing them to block most proposed spending cuts, but have found it virtually impossible to raise the money coming into the coffers because Californian law requires two-thirds of lawmakers to endorse tax increases.

The result has been political paralysis. Tens of thousands of public sector workers, including vast numbers of teachers, are now facing redundancy, and many State employees are currently being forced to take an unpaid day’s leave each fortnight.

If coffers run dry, as predicted, next month, California will be forced to start paying bills in “registered warrants”, a glorified IOU note. And with that sobering thought in mind, both parties were reluctant to discuss the exchange of gifts yesterday and appeared to be seriously upset that the global news media had found out about their displays of humorous machismo.

“We never talk about the Governor’s private gifts,” said a spokesman for Mr Schwarzenegger. “Senator Steinberg sent the Governor a gift and the Governor responded in kind. They maintain a great relationship and will work together to fix the budget.”

Mr Steinberg’s spokesman meanwhile denied that he was upset about the practical joke, adding sternly: “We’ve got more important things on our plate right now.”

Suggested Topics
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Sport
Moeen Ali wearing the 'Save Gaza' and 'Free Palestine' wristbands on his left arm
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tv
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Battle of the Five Armies trailer released
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Extras
indybest
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Life and Style
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Business Analyst - London - Banking - £400-£450

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Banking - London...

Application Engineer - Flow Metering

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Application ...

Chemical Engineer/Project Coordinator

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Chemical Eng...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on