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 text messages 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.