So let me get this straight. Democrats can't cut off funds for the surge and for troops in Iraq because it would be politically unpopular to pull the rug out from under the troops and the President. The only way to force a withdrawal without suffering politically is the 'death of a thousand cuts.'
You don't make it obvious what you're doing; you make it appear that your real goal is to ensure readiness and fairness. And you're really careful to keep repeating that your goal is to protect the troops. If it so happens that the administration can't carry through with the surge under these conditions, so be it.
To make this work, here's a suggestion: don't have the leader of the effort do an interview on a liberal anti-war website, explaining that this is just a ruse - and the real point is to force a redeployment to other locations (like Okinawa, I guess):
Stepping up his campaign against the White House, Murtha, chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, told Tom Andrews, a former congressman-turned-activist, in the online interview that he would attach so many conditions to an upcoming spending bill for Iraq that the Pentagon would not be able to find enough troops to carry out the president’s “surge” plan.
The Andrews group, the Win Without War Coalition, is part of a larger federation of anti-war groups sponsoring the site...
“This vote will limit the options of the president and should stop the surge,” Murtha predicted of next month’s floor fight over the wartime supplemental appropriation. “We’re trying to force redeployment [of troops outside Iraq], not by taking money away but by redirecting it.”
Repeat after me, Mr. Murtha:
'We are NOT trying to force a redeployment. That doesn't even enter into our thinking. This is about supporting our troops. We're shocked SHOCKED to learn that the Bush administration can't find a way to execute foreign policy without leaving troops untrained, unprepared, and vulnerable. But really, this is NOT about the surge.'
Do you see the subtle difference?
Here's another bit of advice: don't say things like this:
“We are looking at the possibility of putting language in the bill that says you can’t go into Iran unless you have authorization [from Congress],” Murtha said.
I know you've only been in Congress a few decades, but statutory language doesn't supercede authority granted in the Constitution. If the Constitution confers on the President the authority to attack, then no law can circumscribe it.
If on the other hand, the President seeks an authorization from Congress, then that obviates any previous language saying an authorization was needed.
To put it kindly, your language is irrelevant, no matter how you look at it.
Gee. I can't for the life of me figure out why the Democrats didn't make this guy Majority Leader.