What exactly is the point of Obama's speeches?

Here’s the problem: Mr. Obama is not the nation’s Speaker in Chief. He’s not a senator, and he’s no longer a candidate. He’s the president. A president’s major speeches are different than those of anyone else. That high office imposes demands beyond the power of a podium. Inspiration matters, but the office also requires acts of leadership. A U.S. president’s words must be connected to something beyond sentiment and eloquence. Too much of the time, Barack Obama’s big speeches don’t seem to be connected to anything other than his own interesting thoughts on some subject…

If enacted, Mr. Obama’s plan would be the most significant piece of social entitlement legislation since 1965, the year Medicare and Medicaid were enacted as the cornerstone of the Great Society.

It may well be that this in fact is the foundation on which Barack Obama intends to build his own vast social vision. If so he will be doing it with no real event or trauma to drive a policy of this scale — no war, no civil-rights movement. Instead, he is trying to shape a presidency from the force of his own political personality carved out of a mountain of random eloquence. It might work, too.