President Trump's downfall begins tonight as he makes his case for The Wall that nobody wants, and if ever built will do little to prevent illegal immigration to the US.
I've been reading Jon Meacham's "The Soul of America," which includes lawyer Roy Cohn's description of the decline of his client Senator Joe McCarthy following the end of his communist witch-hunt hearings.
"By the time the hearings ended, McCarthy had been the center of the national and world spotlight for three and a half years. He had an urgent universal message, and people, whether they idolized or hated him, listened. Almost everything he said or did was chronicled," noted Cohn in his autobiography.
The lack of attention, according to the Cohn—McCarthy's chief counsel during the hearings—contributed to his downfall.
"Human nature being what it is, any outstanding actor on the stage of public affairs—and especially a holder of high office—cannot remain indefinitely at the center of controversy. The pubic must eventually lose interest in him and his cause. And Joe McCarthy had nothing to offer but more of the same. The public sought new thrills. The surprise, the drama was gone," wrote Cohn.
Cohn admitted that McCarthy had many faults. "He was impatient, overly aggressive, overly dramatic. He acted on impulse. He tended to sensationalize the evidence he had—in order to draw attention to the rock-bottom seriousness of the situation. He would neglect to do important homework and consequently would, on occasion, make challengeable statements."
To Cohn, McCarthy was a salesman, "selling the story of America's peril. He knew that he could never hope to convince anybody by delivering a dry, general accounting office-type of presentation. In consequence, he stepped up circumstances a notch or two"
The Senate ultimately censured McCarthy, though he retained a 34 percent approval rating from his political base.
Trump's relentless pitch for the nonsensical Wall sounds a lot like McCarthy's crusade against non-existent communists in the US government.
Cohn, of course, served as Trump's lawyer when The Donald used his father's millions to expand from the family's Queens and Brooklyn base into the real estate Shangrai-La of Manhattan.