Grow up, Republicans

RightWisconsin on a Republican shooting his mouth off like a Democrat:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has thrown tantrums before. Whether it’s writing strange letters to conservative groups, using the press room at the Capitol for primal therapy or sending angry textmessages to the governor, Vos turned the state budget debate into a political circus that often obscured the issues at stake.

But this time Vos has gone too far. When asked by Mike Gousha on UpFront about another tantrum, Vos threw yet another one and called three conservative Republican state senators “terrorists.”

“Frankly I wish Governor Walker hadn’t negotiated with terrorists,” Vos said. “That’s a bad way to operate the legislature.”

“Terrorists? You’re calling rogue senators ‘terrorists’?” Gousha asked, stunned at the word.

“That’s what they are,” Vos answered. “You don’t hold somebody hostage for your own personal needs.”

It appeared to be premeditated slander. Vos repeated the charge of terrorism when challenged and had a ready (if outrageous) defense of it.

These three senators, Chris Kapenga of Delafield, Duey Stroebel of Saukville and Steve Nass of Whitewater, are all former members of the state Assembly, all former colleagues of Vos. Far from being a “terrorist,” Nass served in the Wisconsin Air National Guard for 33 years. Kapenga and Stroebel are businessmen and leaders in their communities. All three deserve more respect from Vos than being called terrorists.

We’re not even going to get into whether Vos should be considered a terrorist because he threatened to hold the budget hostage if it included any bonding for transportation as every budget before it has. The terrorism remark is the kind of rhetoric that we expect from Antifa or One Wisconsin Now. Perhaps Vos should just hire Scot Ross as his spokesman if this is how the Speaker of the Assembly is going to behave.

What’s even more disturbing are reports from within the Capitol that this tantrum is a premeditated attempt by Vos to scuttle the rest of the conservative agenda for the fall legislative session. We’re hearing this is all a facade to hide Vos’ real desire not to take up legislation that will upset his more moderate financial contributors and favorite capitol lobbyists.

If that truly is the case, that Vos is willing to make disgusting personal attacks in an effort to avoid passing conservative legislation, then Assembly Republicans should demand new leadership. Better a new leader than re-living the 2006 and 2008 elections when conservatives punished the state GOP for failing to live up to their promises.

However, we’re going to take Vos at face value, that he really is behaving like a child. Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said in a message to RightWisconsin that he believes Vos can still lead the Republicans. Vos needs to prove it by growing up. He can start with a sincere and personal apology.

RightWisconsin posted that Monday morning. Later came this report:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, issued an apology of sorts for using the word “terrorist” to describe three members of the state senate in an interview with Mike Gousha on UpFront that aired Sunday.

“As Speaker, I have strived to increase the civility within the legislature,” Vos said in a statement released Monday afternoon. “I now regret using the word terrorist because it goes against the guidelines I’ve set for our chamber, and myself. For that, I apologize.”

While Vos apologized for violating “the guidelines,” he continued his criticism of the three Republican state senators: Chris Kapenga of Delafield, Duey Stroebel of Saukville and Steve Nass of Whitewater. The three conservatives refused to vote for the state budget until they received assurances from Governor Scott Walker that several provisions in the budget would be vetoed.

“I continue to be concerned, however, that the actions of a few Senators, who cannot work with their colleagues in their own caucus, could disrupt progress on important legislation for the people of Wisconsin,” Vos said. “Will we now have to run everything past a few rogue holdouts before committees take executive action?”

Vos continued with a defense of not allowing those outside of the budget negotiations of having a say in the final version of the state budget.

“Every lawmaker has a voice, but we must recognize that we now have large majorities in both houses,” Vos said in his statement. “If the Governor has to negotiate every initiative with more than 80 individual legislators, nothing will get accomplished.”…

Stroebel reacted Sunday evening. “To imply fellow Republican legislators are terrorists is the type of hyperbolic rhetoric Wisconsinites are tired of hearing,” Stroebel said. “Wisconsinites expect more of their leaders than to make these kind of personal attacks.”

Governor Scott Walker’s spokesman Tom Evenson issued a statement critical of Vos’ remarks. “It’s unacceptable the word was used to describe good public servants at a time when our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorism around the world,” Evenson said. …

Nass reacted with a statement on Monday, saying Vos was trying to use the controversy to stop conservative legislation.”In my view, it’s a shallow political ploy to reignite the budget disagreement to lay the groundwork to thwart conservative legislation from advancing in the Fall Floor Session,” Nass said. Nass also called for Vos to apologize.

The conservative group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), also weighed in. “Instead of insulting legislators for fighting for their principles, Speaker Vos should explain to his caucus and the people of Wisconsin why he rammed through a special interest giveaway to the Public Finance Authority that would have enriched a few businessmen in California while leaving Wisconsin with all the risk,” AFP State Director Eric Bott said in a statement. …

Vos’s statement did not address whether the use of the word, “terrorist,” was intended to disrupt the fall legislative session to prevent conservative bills from passing.

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