Rove-Bot blues

The rap on Arnold: Although Bites enjoys the marriage of politics and pop culture as much as the next Capitol columnist, the prospect of a hip-hop novelty tune about Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t exactly excite the imagination.

And while a rap called “The Governator” may not hold a candle to Dead Prez or Public Enemy in even their worst moments, it’s still considerably better than, say, your average hip-hop McDonald’s commercial.

The parody tune is the work of agit-pop songsmith Felonious Ax (alias Clifford Tasner, who wrote the music for the off-off-Broadway “Dubya and his Gang of Seven” and leads an L.A. street-theater group called Billionaires for Greater Global Inequity) and 50 Billion (alias fellow Billionaire Will B.). Between choruses of “All hail the Governator,” the song features an Austrian-accented rapper suggestively spewing such lines as “You want to feel my muscles? Write me another check.”

The track can be found online at, a watchdog group that’s been the most consistent thorn in the governor’s side since the recall.

I, Rove-Bot: For a decidedly more effective shot at the governor that’s also likely to have a longer shelf life, Bites readers will want to check out the “Stop the Rove-Bot” poster. Designed by artist Michael Faulkner, the poster shows the distinctive close-up of Herr Terminator with an image of everyone’s favorite White House puppet master lurking in the shadows.

Available from the California for Democracy Web site (at, the parody is the opening salvo in what looks to be a more aggressive public-image campaign being waged by state Democrats in concert with the feistier new Howard Dean-led Democratic National Committee.

Given that Arnold has been availing himself to all manner of national Republican resources—from Dubya’s speechwriters to Jeb Bush’s “reformers”—it’s about time the Dems started playing hardball themselves. Especially since the Rove-Bot is all fired up from his visit earlier this month to New York, where he reportedly held private meetings with both George W. Bush and Karl Rove.

Girlie-men inferiority complex: Meanwhile, back in the halls of the Legislature, the Hollywood-style smoke and mirrors that the People’s Governor has injected into the capital city is getting some legislators thinking. Sure, they may poke fun at his flair for the dramatic, but they clearly also envy all that attention from the TV news cameras.

Take Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, for example. When not being molested by the Kissing Governor, he could be found standing, during a recent press briefing, in front of three 3-foot-by-3.5-foot poster boards propped up on easels. “We’re trying to compete, in our own humble way,” Núñez said of the all-out multimedia effort. “Obviously, we’re not at his level yet.”

Even representatives from the California Education Coalition—no doubt impressed by special-effects photo ops in which Schwarzenegger turns off oversized faucets spilling red ink and demolishes gas-guzzling beater cars (note that no Humvees were harmed during the filming of said photo op)—recently apologized for not putting on more of a show during a stand-in-front-of-a-podium press event on the Capitol steps.

Others are giving it the ol’ screen-test try. Last week, when Assembly Republicans gathered to blast their Democratic counterparts for failing to draw up a budget proposal, Assembly Republican Caucus Chair Russ Bogh brought a prop: a thick stack of paper with a cover sheet labeled “Democratic State Budget Plan.” Holding it up for the few TV cameras, he flipped through the hundreds of pages, all of which were lily-white.

“It’s time for them to quit printing their budget plan in invisible ink,” Bogh said. The stunt earned a polite chuckle.