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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

£12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Wakefield Deal...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat