Dude.

Most striking were his virtually taunting remarks of two men he described as friends from his own days in the House: Democratic Reps. John Dingell (Mich.) and John P. Murtha (Pa.)…

Murtha “and the other senior leaders … march to the tune of Nancy Pelosi to an extent I had not seen, frankly, with any previous speaker,” Cheney said. “I’m trying to think how to say all of this in a gentlemanly fashion, but [in] the Congress I served in, that wouldn’t have happened.”

But his implication was clear: When asked if these men had lost their spines, he responded, “They are not carrying the big sticks I would have expected.”

To counter a foul-mouthed Republican Politico sought out the most famously foul-mouthed Democrat on the Hill. Touche: “Some of us were surprised that the president didn’t have a bigger stick when he could have stood up to Dick Cheney.” And thus did the metaphorical schwanz-measuring contest that is the Iraq funding debate nearly become a literal one.

Incidentally, don’t look now but the Democrats are looking for ways to get Bush another round of funding for the war, starting with money for the civilian Defense Department employees who are in danger of being furloughed after Gates called Reid’s bluff and threatened to start paying for the war out of DoD’s own pocket. Says one “senior Democratic lawmaker” to Politico, acknowledging the reality-based community’s new acquaintance with reality:

“We have to come off this lack of funding for the military operations,” the lawmaker said. “We have to continue the funding. We don’t want to look like we’re against troop funding. … We should separate the funding discussion from the rest of the war.”…

While Democrats search for different ways to combine the war funding bill with their domestic spending measures, Republicans appear increasingly confident with their position…

“When the war was going poorly and there was great opposition to the surge, at the end of the day, the funding was there,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Now, the surge is succeeding; the war is going better. Why would we not continue the funding?”

Here’s one of the new proposals for how they might do the next round , i.e. by linking the money to benchmarks instead of a withdrawal timetable. It’s by Michael O’Hanlon, official nutroots hate object and long-term sufferer of the “illusion” that the surge is working until Murtha cured him last week by agreeing with him. If you think the left’s in a bad mood now, let Reid and Pelosi start pushing some variation of an O’Hanlon plan and see what happens.