The subconscious logic of their position on the war has thus taken a subtle turn. It used to be that the war had to end because it was a failure; now it must fail so that it can end.
Democrats don't see this distinction, since they simply believe the war is irretrievably lost. But they still pay laughably unserious lip service to the notion of success. Murtha says there's no military solution in Iraq, that we can win in Iraq only through the political process — as if it has no effect on the political process whether Shia militias are murdering Sunnis unchecked or laying low to avoid the surge. In a howler, he maintains that if we leave, "al-Qaida's going to disappear." Maybe if we spread pixie dust and close our eyes?
President Bush will have no choice but to reject the Murtha restrictions should they reach his desk. But a veto is problematic. As Murtha points out, a veto means that Bush doesn't get the continued funding for the war. He might have to sign the bill, take the funding and ignore the restrictions as an unconstitutional trespass on his powers. In that event, a cry to impeach him will go up from the increasingly powerful anti-war left.
The result of the Democrats' clever gambit could be a constitutional implosion from which no one — certainly not the country — will emerge a winner.