Some quick not-necessarily-connected thoughts on the State of the Union:

1. Great drama: a President at war in the midst of historic low public approval numbers facing a newly crowned majority in Congress opposed to almost everything for which he stands.

2. The President's domestic agenda is nearly irrelevant. He has lost the initiative. He may get some of the things he wants, but they will be mostly on Democratic terms.

3. American institutions are so very powerful. I loved the civility and the respect for the offices and the history. The President's tribute to Nancy Pelosi was first class. He seemed sincere, and she appeared genuinely moved.

4. The expectation was that the speech would have no impact. I think that is basically correct, although the President gave his partisans a moment to be proud of and something to stick in their gas tank. The speech was the best and most articluate I had seen from this President in a long time, but does it matter at this point?

5. Kudos to the new speech-writing team. I like Michael Gerson--but, perhaps, it was time for a change. Although the punditry proclaimed it subdued, that stale analysis gives the wrong impression. The call to arms was a low roar that played powerfully eloquent on TV.

Instantly classic lines:

"The rite of custom brings us together at a defining hour -- when decisions are hard and courage is needed. We must have the will to face difficult challenges and determined enemies -- and the wisdom to face them together."

"This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we're in. Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. Let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory."

"We went into this largely united, in our assumptions and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on their way."