Another Chick chimes in

PoliticsGovernmentRegional AuthorityElectionsGray Davis

No less an authority than the Dixie Chicks have come out against Arnold Schwarzenegger. "I find his idea to run for governor absolutely insane," banjo player Emily Robison told a German newspaper this week, according to wire services. "America should be governed by people who have a clue."

And that starts with voters taking their cues from country-western musicians?

Busting Bustamante

Finally, people are giving Cruz "Keno" Bustamante some respect. And by "respect" we mean "ridiculing him on national TV." In other words, our plan is working.

Before we got involved, the Cruzinator's bid to stab alleged Gov. Gray Davis in the back was going nowhere. The problem was obvious: Late-night comedians weren't telling jokes about Bustamante, which meant the public wasn't taking his candidacy seriously.

Out of pure kindness, we sponsored a lieutenant governor joke contest. The turnaround has been dramatic: Jay Leno launched a series of Bustamante broadsides and the candidate surged to No. 1 in most polls. Now even the world-famous Half Moon Bay (Calif.) Review has weighed in (see accompanying photo illustration).

Coincidence?

Maybe. But if Tom McClintock or Peter Camejo comes begging for help, we're going to start charging a fee (or insist on a cushy government job after the election). Tom and Pete, here's the kind of respect we can get you (courtesy of Leno):

"A little bit of a scandal for Lt. Gov. Bustamante. It seems he has accepted $2 million from one Indian tribe, on top of $800,000 he already accepted from two other bribes. Oh wait, did I say 'bribes'? I meant 'tribes.' "

"According to the L.A. Daily News, Las Vegas oddsmakers are picking Cruz Bustamante to win the gubernatorial election. How many casinos is this guy hooked up with?"

"Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante has taken $2.5 million from Indian tribes — in quarters. Bustamante now says he's going to give that money to a ballot proposition instead of using it in his campaign. See, this is how politics is different from real life. Wouldn't it be great if you or I could rob a bank and then when the cops grab you, say, 'It's not for me. I'm giving this to the heart fund.' "

Recall randomness

Reason No. 225 to support the recall: Lyndon LaRouche now opposes it.

Going postal

Time to clean out our Recall Madness mailbox. Tucker Carney of Los Angeles writes, "It was very unprofessional of you to categorize Arianna Huffington as a 'gadfly.' Even if you did not mean it that way, empirically the term refers to a nuisance."

You're right, Mr. Carney. We didn't mean to call her a gadfly. We meant to call her a "tax-dodging, latte-swilling, big-haired phony." We regret the error.

A letter writer who identified himself as Bart Braverman fired off this screed about the winning entries in our Bustamante joke contest: "Never having read your column before, I happened to go through it Friday. Never again! It was cruel and thoughtless."

Well, that's a shame, Bart, because today is Recall Madness' once-a-century sweepstakes, in which we randomly select a citizen and award him $38 billion (enough to pay off California's deficit) if he sees his name in our column and calls in. As luck would have it, you were the big winner. Too bad you won't read this.

Larry S. Gelbart of Beverly Hills objected to our publication of topfive.com's suggested campaign slogans for 101-year-old candidate Mathilda Spak (sample motto: "If you don't like one of my ideas, don't worry — I won't remember it the next day"). Gelbart called it cruel, but we figure Spak is the kind of lively spirit who realizes it's all in good fun. If not, well, we hope by the next day she forgot she was upset.

Our final missive comes from anti-recall reader Crager Couger of Tujunga, who chided us for spoofing the Democrats' multiple conspiracy theories — about the recall itself, the alleged rigging of Taco Bell's poll and Gray Davis' claim that space aliens created the energy crisis.

Look, Crager, we just write what Conspiracy Headquarters tells us to. Unfortunately, now that you're on to us, we'll have to start beaming Rush Limbaugh broadcasts into your fillings.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

E-mail: roy.rivenburg@latimes.com.

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