Novak (in his E-mailed political report) comes close to my assessment of where the Iraq debate stands (no link). Is it any wonder I link him so often:
Iraq: Thanks in part to Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha's talk about Democrats' plans to attach conditions to Iraq-War funding, Democrats are on the retreat with respect to Iraq. In fact, however, Democrats are retreating from their own shadows, even as the public warms to their position.
Murtha had let slip in an interview with an anti-war website that he wanted to paralyze the military by requiring rigorous standards of troop readiness and equipment before funds would be released. This threw Democrats into retreat, despite the fact that a new poll shows support for the Iraq War and the troop "surge" is now a minority position. Most Americans now want a withdrawal date. Support for simply cutting off war funding is now at 46 percent, according to a Washington Post poll.
After the failure of the Senate's "non-binding" troop-surge resolution, Democrats still appear to be cowering when they should probably be bounding forward. They lack the will at this point to take what appears to be a popular step: binding action that would bring about a withdrawal or redeployment.
Republicans' rhetoric has carefully focused on the problems with Congress' trying to micromanage a war -- repeating the idea of "535 commanders in chief" on the floors of both houses of Congress. For now, this works, and it will continue to work as long as Democrats remain too frightened to act.
This is deeply troubling of course. The Democrats are like sandpeople; they frighten easily, but they will soon be back in greater number.
(OK, that was a reach).
Anyway, they will try again to restrict funds.