Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sen. Specter (R-PA) meets with his constituents and talks about Iraq, immigration, and AG Alberto Gonzalez. On Iraq, he's keeping his options open:
Mr. Specter, was circumspect on what course he might endorse after the much anticipated report on Iraqi progress next month from the administration. But he said repeatedly that barring a showing of "light at the end of the tunnel," a significant change in tactics would be warranted.

Mr. Specter's reservations about war tactics weren't reserved for the administration of his own party, however. He dismissed Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign trail promises to end the war as "rhetoric, that's all it is," noting that neither she nor any of the leading Democrats are calling for an immediate troop withdrawal.

Mr. Specter also flayed the parliamentary tactics of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Democratic leader. He maintained that, in refusing to allow a floor vote either on a proposal from Republicans Sens. John Warner and Richard Lugar to order the president to draft a new Iraq plan, or an endorsement of the Iraq Study Group, Mr. Reid had both abused his authority and short-circuited measures that might have spurred a shift in administration war planning.

He offers a few hints on his immigration policy. While this story says that the "vast majority of those who spoke up [at this meeting] were sharply opposed to eased immigration rules and irate that the ones in existence hadn't been enforced more vigorously," Specter still hopes for a renewed push towards some "comprehensive reform"--perhaps modeled on his own proposal. Specter also speculates that the new worker verification rules could encourage a new push for "reform" (e.a.):

While he conceded that his own aides disagree with his analysis, he predicted that an administration crackdown on undocumented workers, announced after the failure of the immigration bill, would prod a search for new legislative solutions.

"I think we're in for a real shock when these Social Security letters hit,'' he said of the Labor Department initiative to curb the use of false identifications by illegal workers. "They're going to eliminate a vast part of the labor force in this country.''

He noted a Senate colleague's prediction that the crackdown would mean, "These crops are going to rot in the fields,'' and said "When we go back in September, we may find a near panic situation . . . and people are going to start to say what's the best deal we can make.''

We'll have to see if such a panic arises (or if some claim the existence of a panic)...