I am going to test out your method tonight... it looks good and would solve pretty much all my issues. The one thing I did notice :
Say my image buttons are 135px wide... I put those overtop of the text without using an indent. Now, a user turns off images for faster browsing... button is gone and the anchor text is visible, BUT only the text which fits into the 135px as the overflow hidden wouldn't show anything outside so even that kind of defeats the accessibility stuff with images turned off - I think...I'll have to code it out and try it, I might be thinking about the outcome wrong.