LIMITS….Sam Rosenfeld passes along a report from The Hill that suggests Republicans are losing their nerve in the filibuster fight because of internal polling showing “public disquiet” over Republican demagoguing of judges.

As well there should be. Let’s face it: most Americans don’t know or care much about any judge below the level of the Supreme Court, and most Americans don’t know what a filibuster is either. To the extent they do, they probably associate it with a heroic James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

But they do know what Tom DeLay said and did in the Terri Schiavo case and they have heard about his wild attacks on the judiciary since then. And I imagine most of them don’t like it much. Hell, I’ll bet there are plenty of Republican senators who don’t like it much either. Regardless of ideology, they think the Republican leadership has gone too far.

In fact, I think that’s at the bottom of a lot of disquiet over Republican tactics recently ? and could probably be countered pretty effectively with a Democratic theme along the lines of “Shouldn’t There Be a Limit?” That could apply equally to things like the nuclear option, Tom DeLay’s European junkets, Social Security privatization, John Bolton, estate tax elimination for billionaires, and more.

Last November, Republicans seemed to think that a 2% win for George Bush was a landslide victory and promptly did the same thing that Newt Gingrich did after the 1994 elections: overreached. But the American public really isn’t ready for full bore conservatism and never has been. In fact, I’ll bet an awful lot of them are pretty relieved that congressional Democrats have recently developed the backbone to stand up to Republican zealotry. After all, shouldn’t there be a limit?

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