"It seems to me that you forget that... we have never as a party moved this nation by 14-point position papers and 9-point programs. It seems that when we got involved in the civil rights movement... nobody asked Martin Luther King what his legislative agenda was. He marched to change attitudes. When the women's movement started, it had not moved with a constitutional amendment. They marched to change attitudes. And this party better understand full well that it's about time that we change our attitude and we begin to change the attitudes of Americans about what their responsibilities are to the poor, about what their responsibilities are to other people, and about what our responsibility in the world is, and that requires changing attitudes. But... I promise you'll see my 15-point plans and 19-point position papers and... you'll be able to make a judg[ment] about whether... I know more about economic policy. But ultimately... this country needs a leader, and leaders change attitudes about people, and it's the ironic twist that in the wake of Ronald Reagan that the only one thing he knew how to do was the one thing that is now being... the currency of which is in fact now being devalued so much."
That's something Joe Biden said in 1987 (when he was running for President). I quoted that back in August 2008, relating it to Barack Obama. I imagined Obama hearing Biden's remarks and seeing his path to the presidency, seeing how he might be the one who could, like Ronald Reagan and Martin Luther King, use the power of speech to change attitudes.
The reason I'm dragging this up out of the archive this morning is I'm noticing how Biden's idea also applies to Trump. Maybe Trump too heard Biden's idea and saw that the presidency is achieved through speech — emotionally rousing speech that changes attitudes.
Of course, there are many possible attitudes. Which way are you going to change the attitudes? And what attitudes will be inspired in response to how that attitude looks in the people you inspire? In Trump's case, the response to the attitude he inspired turned a lot of people back to the kind of Democratic Party candidate Biden was speaking against — the flat, dull speaker with the 14-point position papers and 9-point programs.
Talk about an ironic twist.