Happy hour roundup

June 4

* Former general Stanley McChrystal, in an interview with Olivier Knox, calls on folks to hold off on judging Bowe Bergdahl and says we don’t leave Americans behind:

“We’re going to have to wait and talk to Sgt. Bergdahl now and get his side of the story,” he said. “One of the great things about America is we should not judge until we know the facts. And after we know the facts, then we should make a mature judgment on how we should handle it.”

Asked whether he would have made the same prisoner swap, McChrystal replied: “We don’t leave Americans behind. That’s unequivocal.”

“There will be a lot of discussion on whether the mechanism for getting Sgt. Bergdahl back was right — and I’ll leave it to people to argue that,” he added.

* A team of Washington Post reporters has a fascinating look at the deliberations within the Obama administration over whether, and how, to get Bergdahl out.

* Tom Kludt put together a nice roundup of Republicans trying frantically to make people forget that they were big fans of Bergdahl until Barack Obama got him released.

* Peter Beinart notes that it’s heartwarming how conservatives have embraced Bowe Bergdahl’s father, because his long beard reminds them of those Duck Dynasty guys they like so much. Oh wait, that’s not what happened. They attacked him because with his beard, as Bill O’Reilly said, the elder Bergdahl “looks like a Muslim.”

* Joan Walsh has a good piece detailing how the right is trying to turn the Bergdahl story into a Clinton vs. Obama throwdown. How? Well, two years ago when a deal was being discussed, Clinton wanted tougher terms on the Taliban figures who were being released (even though Clinton says she supports the deal that was eventually worked out).

Still, Walsh wonders whether Clinton is trying to put some distance between herself and President Obama, and whether we’ll see more of that in days to come.

* In an attempt to tamp down anger in Congress over the administration’s failure to give them advance notice on the deal, administration officials are heading to Capitol Hill for a meeting with all 100 senators to talk about it. More facts and information are just the thing to quiet the criticism.

* Emily Bazelon with an important reminder: There are prisoners at Guantanamo who even the administration acknowledges are innocent, yet they’re still stuck there.

* Brian Beutler reminds us that the Obama administration’s new regulations on climate won’t be ready for a year or so, at which point they could become a real problem for Republican presidential candidates, because the base will demand adamant opposition:

If reducing emissions is broadly popular, reactionary antiscience is not. Climate change denial is almost exclusively the province of the American far right. And if the American far right won’t countenance a GOP nominee who concedes the basic facts about global warming, then it will pick an unelectable candidate, or disqualify an electable one, once again.

There will be some choice debate moments in which candidates twist themselves in knots over the question.

* GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart says that he’s slowly but surely building GOP support behind the scenes for  immigration reform, and he expects a push to pass a bill before the August recess. I’ll believe it when I see it.

* It’s official: There will be a runoff in the Republican Senate primary in Mississippi.

* Democrats in Mississippi got the best outcome they could hope for out of yesterday’s primary. Tea Partier Chris McDaniel is favored to defeat incumbent Thad Cochran in a runoff, and conservative former Rep. Travis Childers won the Democratic nomination. So could Childers actually win? Sean Trende breaks it down and concludes that he has a chance, just not a great one.

* Mitch McConnell’s net worth grew by $2.8 million last year, which is nice for him, but might cause a bit of a problem if people bring it up in the context of his opposition to increasing the minimum wage, a key issue in the Kentucky Senate race.

* New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown has resigned from the advisory board of an odd Florida company, which is described this way by the Boston Globe: “The publicly traded company says it is a firearms company, but has no revenue, no products, no trademarks, no patents, and only a ‘virtual office.’”

Sounds like a top-drawer operation; hopefully, Brown can use the business insights he gleaned there to serve the nation.

* Michael Cohen argues that the real NSA scandal isn’t the spying it might be doing on Americans, but the spying it is most definitely doing on people all over the world, with virtually no legal restraints. The scope of their actions, he says, “is simply mind-boggling.”

* Ryan Cooper on how Republican obstructionism could undercut the GOP’s own goals: If Republicans succeed in getting the administration’s new climate regulations struck down in court, they could pave the way for even more strict regulation, up to an outright ban on coal-fired energy plants.

* Thomas Edsell has a good overview of signs of internal dissent from conservative economic orthodoxy, and what it really means for the GOP on the right.

* Francis Wilkinson notes that NRA officials have their own Tea Party problem: Despite moving steadily to the right, they’re now dealing with gun nuts even nuttier than they are, the kind of people who think it’s a great idea to bring your assault rifle into an Arby’s, because freedom.

* And finally, over at the American Prospect, I explain what happens when Maureen Dowd gets way, way too high. Spoiler alert: nothing good.

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Greg Sargent | June 4