That would be Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania. His modus operandi is to make a rather big noise about something he doesn't like in the wingnut plans for this country, but he never ever follows up on the noise he makes. It's pretty funny to watch once you get the shtick. Senator Specter's role is to make it look like the Republicans aren't goose-stepping behind the president when in fact they are.
The most recent volley from Specter is this:
According to a pool report of the encounter, Mr. Specter expressed anew his criticism of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales but said he saw no signs that Mr. Gonzales would be forced to resign. Mr. Specter attributed Mr. Gonzales's job security to Mr. Bush's "personal loyalty" to him.
Mr. Specter spoke derisively of Mr. Gonzales's appearance Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he faced accusations that he misled Congress last year when he said there had been no disagreement within the administration over the National Security Administration's domestic surveillance program.
"Our hearing two days ago was devastating," Mr. Specter said. "But so was the hearing before that, and so was the hearing before that."
Mr. Specter also waded into another uncomfortable subject, the Congressional demands for testimony from Karl Rove, the presidential adviser, and Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, among others.
He said that while he hoped "to reach an accommodation" with the White House, "I don't see it now."
In the next stage of events like this nothing happens. Senator Specter quiets down until his plain-speaking is required once more. Instead, he quietly follows George Bush.
It's always possible that this time Specter really means to rebel. It's also possible that the lemmings have learned the U-turn from the brink. Nah.