The best defense is a good offense, and after a couple of days of initial scrambling the administration and its defenders have fastened on their approach to defending Obama on Bergdahl.
It consists of the following:
(1) Trying various lies on for size: we did it for this reason; no, we did it for this reason; well, actually, it was for this reason…
(2) How dare you slander/libel Bergdahl this way, a brave fighting man who has suffered greatly? You must hate our troops, unlike President Obama.
(3) Those who served with Bergdahl and are criticizing him are “swiftboating” him unfairly, just as the Swift Vets did to Kerry (who is now Secretary of State, by the way, in an interesting historical harmony). This charge of “swiftboating” has the effect of simultaneously dissing Bergdahl’s former colleagues in the military and Kerry’s as liars.
(4) You are flip-floppers! Why, some of you have changed your minds! This ignores the fact that a person could have been in favor of a Bergdahl rescue deal without being the least bit in favor of this Bergdahl rescue deal, so much worse than anyone previously had contemplated.
(5) There’s plenty of precedent for exchanging prisoners of war, and that’s all this was. This ignores the fact that there is absolutely no precedent for giving up five enemy combatant prisoners of this magnitude to obtain a hostage—not a prisoner-of-war—who went AWOL, deserted, or defected voluntarily to the enemy. Especially when hostilities are still ongoing.
The sad thing, the very sad thing, is that these sorts of approaches have worked in the past, and they may work now.