For much of the Trumpist Right, it's all about Liberal Tears.
The main reason for President Trump to pardon Sheriff Joe was fuck you, leftists. The new rules, bitches.
This has become a familiar pattern among some on the right, who rush to defend anyone (especially Trump) who is attacked by the Left, no matter how reckless, extreme, or bizarre their behavior has been. If Liberals hated something, the argument goes, then it must be wonderful and worthy of aggressive defense, even if that meant defending the indefensible and losing elections. So in years past, conservatives embraced and defended figures like Christine (“I am not a witch”) O’Donnell and lost winnable senate races with candidates who said bizarre things about rape (Todd Akin) or were just too weird for the electorate (Sharron Angle.)
But in the era of Trump, the appetite for Liberal angst has morphed into an addiction.
For the anti-anti-Trump pundit, whatever the allegation against Mr. Trump, whatever his blunders or foibles, the other side is always worse. But the real heart of anti-anti-Trumpism is the delight in the frustration and anger of his opponents.
Mr. Trump’s base is unlikely to hold him either to promises or tangible achievements, because conservative politics is now less about ideas or accomplishments than it is about making the right enemies cry out in anguish. Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters don’t have to defend his specific actions as long as they make liberal heads explode, or as Sarah Palin put it so memorably, “It’s really funny to me to see the splodey heads keep sploding.”....
But as deeply satisfying as the politics of spite and vengeance may be, it is ultimately a trap and a dead-end.
What may have begun as a policy or a tactic in opposition has long since become a reflex. But there is an obvious price to be paid for essentially becoming a party devoted to trolling. In the long run, it’s hard to see how a party dedicated to liberal tears can remain a movement based on ideas or centered on principles.
Conservatives will care less about governing and more about scoring “wins” — and inflicting losses on the left — no matter how hollow the victories or flawed the policies. Ultimately, though, this will end badly because it is a moral and intellectual dead end, and very likely a political one as well.…
As the right doubles down on anti-anti-Trumpism, it will find itself goaded into defending and rationalizing ever more outrageous conduct just as long as it annoys CNN and the left.
In many ways anti-anti-Trumpism mirrors Donald Trump himself, because at its core there are no fixed values, no respect for constitutional government or ideas of personal character, only a free-floating nihilism cloaked in insult, mockery and bombast.