First Principles

Greenwald responds to Michael Massing's New York Review Of Books article. Glenn thinks that the "prime beltway affliction" is misunderstanding the line between constitutional principles and political squabbling:

Garden-variety political questions -- what should be the highest tax rate?  what kind of health care policy should the government adopt? to what extent should the government regulate private industry? -- are ones intended to be driven by "the practical considerations policymakers must contend with."  But questions about our basic liberties and core premises of our government -- presidential adherence to the law, providing due process before sticking people in cages, spying on Americans only with probable cause search warrants, treating all citizens including high political officials equally under the law -- are supposed to be immune from such "practical" and ephemeral influences.  Those principles, by definition, prevail in undiluted form regardless of public opinion and regardless of the "practical" needs of political officials.  That should not be controversial; that is the central republican premise for how our political system was designed.