Calling for 2014 to be a "year of action," President Barack Obama's State of the Union address sounded promising, but acknowledged the inevitable:
Without cooperation with a divided, reluctant Congress, the kind of progress he envisions is not likely to be realized, despite his promises to go it alone.
"Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged," Obama said, seemingly referring to his falling approval ratings of late.
But, President Obama added, "for more than 200 years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress."
The 2014 State of the Union address was vintage Obama, blending calls for a unified approach with declarations of his independence via executive orders.
Even Republicans relentlessly critical of Obama conceded his oratorical skill.
"A speech by Barack Obama is a lot like sex," said GOP strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos. "The worst there ever was is still excellent."