June 2

* Jonathan Chait boils down the big news of the day — the Obama administration’s new regulations to limit carbon emissions — arguing that whatever effect this policy has, we have to give Obama credit for going farther than most people thought he ever would.

A president cannot save the planet. But it can no longer be fairly denied that Obama has thrown himself entirely behind the cause.

* From the beginning of his time on the national stage, Barack Obama has had no more prominent liberal critic than Paul Krugman. Well today, Krugman is impressed:

Of course you’re disappointed if you believed that soaring rhetoric could transform our political life, or if you believed that Obama could, by sheer force of will, turn crazy right-wingers into centrists. But I never bought into all of that. In fact, I was always exasperated by the inspiring speeches, which suggested to me that Obama didn’t understand what he was facing.

What mattered instead were concrete achievements, things that would shape America for the better over time. And in the end, Obama has delivered. Health reform is working, and the repeal crowd is slinking slowly away. And now, the environment.

(Note the swipe at the Green Lanternite pundits. — gs)

* The EPA has set different goals for each state to achieve, based on how much carbon they’re already emitting, among other factors. Brad Plumer shows us what each state will have to accomplish to hit its targets, and explains the policy rationale behind it all.

* One big question is how the new EPA rules will impact individual Senate races. In an interesting twist, Colorado Business Journal explains how the state is already well on its way to meeting these carbon targets, thanks to innovations it has pursued on its own. Republicans will have a hard time using the issue here, then.

* Indeed, Colorado is home to one Dem Senator up for re-election who is not afraid to say that he’s pleased with the regulations:

Sen. Mark Udall, whose state gets almost two-thirds of its electricity from coal, welcomed the rule as a “good start” that can build on conservation efforts there. “Climate change is threatening Colorado’s special way of life,” Udall said.

* But the political situation is different in other places. Republicans are already sending robocalls into other states with tight Senate races, and in them, Dems are already distancing themselves from the new rules.

* Indeed, Alison Lundergan Grimes is already criticizing the administration for the rules in Kentucky, and here’s a taste of what might come, from Joe Sonka:

 .@AlisonForKY has not shot a copy of the new EPA carbon emissions rules, ala Joe Manchin. Yet.

* Speaking of GOP attacks on the new rules, here’s the tweet of the day, from MSNBC’s Ned Resnikoff:

New EPA regulation is an abuse of executive authority, which is why it was legally mandated by Congress and the Supreme Court.

* Ezra Klein looks back at a long past era in which Republicans wanted to do something about climate change, and notes that the proposals Obama announced “are far less ambitious than the proposal McCain offered in Oregon in 2008. They’re less ambitious than the proposals Newt Gingrich championed through the Aughts.” It’s a reminder of how far Republicans have traveled on the issue.

* John Upton of Grist reports that that the rest of the world is “cautiously relieved” by the announcement, another reminder of how big the stakes are here.

* The rant of the day, from Andrew Sullivan, who is utterly disgusted with the Republican party and the American conservative movement over their climate denialism:

It matters when one major party refuses to accept reality – when it refuses to grasp the fact that you cannot raise revenue by cutting taxes, that the United States practiced torture, or that human-made climate change is real. When one side engages in this surreal debate, the country becomes incapable of engaging in any real debate. I know we’ve become used to this – and the press has found a way to write about the GOP as if they are not a reckless, know-nothing, post-modern fantasy machine. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remain capable of shock and anger at this pathetic excuse for a political party, at the unique idiocy of this party of the right in the Western world.

As Greg noted earlier, however, there are reasons to think this issue may catch up with Republicans in 2016.

* And in non-climate news, the Dem-allied Senate Majority PAC has a new ad slamming Thom Tillis over education cuts, a sign Dems will seek to use the hard right turn of the North Carolina legislature as a key argument against him.

* This morning, I assessed Republican arguments against the prisoner exchange that freed U.S. Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Ed Kilgore explains why you have the opinion you do:

The exchanges to secure Bergdahl is an issue where opinions obviously vary: if you think we’re still in a War on Terror in which the Taliban is functionally equivalent to al-Qaeda and a direct threat to American security, you think it’s a very bad idea. If you think otherwise, and that direct negotiations with the Taliban are the only way to ensure stability in Afghanistan after our troops are removed, and if you furthermore think it’s past time to shut down Gitmo, then you probably aren’t upset by the exchanges.

But doesn’t he know the War on Terror is forever?

*At the American Prospect, I argued that Barack Obama has no foreign policy “doctrine” — and that’s a good thing.

* And finally, Prince showed up at the French Open, and was so incredibly Prince that everyone was just beside themselves. Yes, he was wielding a scepter.