Speaker's legitimate point lost in the justified anger over his name-calling.
WORDS MATTER, AND Wisconsin's Assembly Speaker Robin Vos chose the wrong one. Referring to three Republican senators and their behind-the-scenes dealings with Gov. Scott Walker, Vos called them "terrorists." In an interview with WISN television he said, "That's what they are. You don't hold somebody hostage for your own personal needs."
Vos belatedly apologized - too little, too late.
The three senators are Steve Nass, from this region, in Whitewater; Chris Kapenga of Delafield; and Duey Stroebel of Saukville.
"The people of Wisconsin have a sacred comprehension of the evils associated with terrorism since this country was attacked on September 11, 2001," Nass said in a news release. Of Vos's choice of words Nass went on to say, "It is beyond outrageous for anyone, especially a person serving as Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, to label as a 'terrorist' another person for simple public policy disagreements."
OBVIOUSLY, NASS IS RIGHT. We are a nation that has experienced loss of innocent life from terrorism. Members of our armed forces lie in graves from fighting terrorists. The world remains under threat of terror. Never trivialize that term as a mere political flourish.
Lost in the name-calling furor, though, is Vos's point - which is a good one, He is angry with the three senators - and Walker, and Senate leadership - for striking a secret deal allowing the budget to pass with their votes, while the governor agreed to use his line-item veto to X-out their objections later.
Vos says, with some justification, the budget might have failed to pass if that cloakroom plan had been made public. There were high tensions between Republicans in the Assembly and Senate over budget differences, and the backroom deal left Vos feeling blindsided, for good reason.
IT ISN'T OFTEN we have found much common ground with Speaker Vos, especially on a topic involving secrecy. He's right, though, on the objectionable nature of the deal to win the three senators' votes, even while he's wrong with the cringe-worthy "terrorists" comment.
This is, however, in character for the cast running Madison the past few years. They are not friends of transparency, and seldom miss an opportunity to prove it.