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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk