Is history repeating?

A well known American politician, according to one of his biographers, Richard H. Rovere, was:
– “an essentially destructive force
– “a chronic opportunist
– “a political speculator
– “a Republican who had started as a Democrat
– “a fertile innovator, a first-rate organizer and galvanizer of mobs, a skilled manipulator of public opinion, and something like a genius at that essential American strategy: publicity
– “a vulgarian
– “a man with an almost aesthetic preference for untruth.”

Rovere also wrote that he:
– “faked it all and could not understand anyone who didn’t
– “made sages of screwballs and accused wise men of being fools
– was “the first American ever to be actively hated and feared by foreigners in large numbers
– “favoured the third person
– was “a great sophisticate in human relationships, as every demagogue must be. He knew a good deal about people’s fears and anxieties, and he was a superb juggler of them. But he was himself numb to the sensation he produced in others. He could not comprehend true outrage, true indignation, true anything.”

In summary, Rovere wrote, “if he was anything at all in the realm of ideas, principles, doctrines, he was a species of nihilist” and “the haters rallied around him.”

At a Senate hearing, a counsel said to him “you have, I think, sir, something of a genius for creating confusion — creating a turmoil in the hearts and minds of the country.”

His closest and longstanding advisor, in a book about him, wrote that he:
– was “impatient, overly aggressive, overly dramatic
– acted on impulse – tended to sensationalize the evidence he had”
– “would neglect to do important homework
– had an “inattention to detail
– was “gifted with a sense of political timing” and “on balance, his sense of what made drama and headlines was uncommonly good
– was “the first important public figure to touch an exquisitely sensitive nerve in the thought leaders of our society. This small but immensely powerful group of intellectuals.”

Who is the subject of Rovere’s biography? Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Rovere met Donald Trump in the early 1970s and quickly became Trump’s trusted adviser and one of the most important people in Trump’s life at that time.

There is a significant parallel and potential here but, as with much in life and history, “Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides:Who cover faults, at last shame them derides” (William Shakespeare – King Lear)


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