Bipartisanship is the big political buzzword these days, supposedly sought by the public and politicians alike. But if you ask Bites, bipartisanship is about twice as much partisanship as this town, state and country need right now.

“Let us move forward in the spirit of bipartisan resolve,” Gov. Gray Davis declared this week during his State of the State address.

Actually, “declared” is probably too strong a descriptor for Davis’ halting, uninspired address, in which he tripped over his words and concepts alike, over and over again.

But Bites can’t blame Davis for being a bit rattled these days, what with the energy capitalists souring the free market centrism he had hoped to ride to the White House.

Why, the situation has so embittered our fair governor that he even borrowed a populist page from the playbook that Al Gore used at the Democratic National Convention when Ralph Nader was nibbling at Gore’s left flank.

Admitting that “California’s deregulation scheme is a colossal and dangerous failure,” Davis spoke out against the “out-of-state energy companies” for “maximizing unheard-of profits” and “refusing to sell us our own power.”

“Make no mistake,” Davis said in his first big applause line of the speech, “we will regain control over the power that’s generated in California and commit it to the public good.”

Yet rather than applaud, Bites was about the only one on the Assembly Floor to burst out laughing at Davis’ teeth-gnashing at the very free market forces that he has so warmly embraced since taking California’s reins.

And by the time the governor threw out the empty threat that he would consider seizing California power plants through eminent domain laws if the companies didn’t start behaving, Bites turned into a cackling fool who almost had to be dragged bodily out of the hall.

Assemblyman Bill Campbell was right on during his Republican State of the State speech: “In September, Republicans called for a special session to address the power crisis. Anyone could watch what was happening in San Diego and see the need for immediate attention. Governor Davis and the Democrats refused that call. Refusal was their prerogative. We think it was the wrong choice.”

Of course, that was about the only astute thing Campbell said in his overly simplistic, highly partisan speech, going on to voice the ludicrous notion that electric market deregulation can still work.

“Create real competition at all levels of the market,” urged Campbell. “No government takeover or rationing of power supplies.”

Entering the Capitol has become like stepping through the looking glass these days, and entering a wonderland where partisan and bipartisan rhetoric has completely replaced real ideas.

In this backward world, the idea of creating a more ideal system of government isn’t even discussed. Or, as Davis said in his speech, “I’m not interested in Utopian proposals.”

Ah, Bites loves a good bounce: So it was with some glee that we received the news recently that as of Monday, KXTV-10 will move the Dr. Laura show to the wasteland of television: the overnight slot. Dr. Laura will soon be competing with infomercials about ab-busters for the attention of insomniacs.

As readers of this publication will no doubt remember, Dr. Laura’s maiden voyage into TV land was greeted with jeers around the country by both gays and straights who were less than thrilled that Dr. Laura would be rewarded with a television show after her continued recitations of the “evils” of homosexuality on her syndicated radio call-in show. But producers of the show, as well as local ABC executives, promised viewers a “kinder, gentler” Dr. Laura. And we got it. Oh, sure, there were still the daily sermons from the mount, but gone were the references to gays being “biological errors.” Who knows, maybe that’s what hurt her with the TV-watching fundamentalist crowd.

As one source inside the television station told Bites, “The show sucks and we can’t get any advertisers.” So the Sultana of Shrew loses the 3 p.m. slot, replaced instead with Jeopardy and Inside Edition.

Dr. Laura often says, “Go out and do the right thing.” Apparently KXTV-10 did it.