This was not a lame duck State of the Union Message. This was a feisty President vowing to fight for what he believes for one more year as President and then for the rest of his life. Mr. Obama was on a roll in this speech, a man liberated - one who knows he has more work to do, yet one not unwilling to criticize his political opponents for partisan rancor, for denying the transformational reforms he longed for.

Rather than ticking off merely a series of single agenda items, the President offered some Big Think. He laid out four big questions - how best to ensure more equality of opportunity in the next economy; how to make new technology work for more people not against people; how the United States can maintain safety in a changing world without having to become a policeman or engaging in nation-building; and how to make US politics reflect what is best in our tradition and nature than emphasizing the worst.

This was an elder statesman reflecting on both his own failures - he could have, he admitted, been easier to get along with, more welcoming to opponents - but he also did not resist chastising his GOP opponents for opposing important changes. The only Americans who can expect a 30 year career with full benefits "can be found in this room", he said. He denigrated those who called America weaker in the face of "our enemies getting stronger". "It's not even close, it's not even close", he noted. And he saved genuine condemnation for the Presidential candidates who are engaging in the politics of insult, of hyperbole, and of hate. He left no doubt that he was speaking about Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Chris Christie. He warned that fighting criminal terrorists is not the onset of World War III and now is not the time for insulting one of the world's great religions.

He delineated his successes. His Affordable Care Act not only expanded health coverage to almost 18 million more Americans, but has assisted in job creation every month since it has gone into effect. He has ushered in a new era of alternative clean energies: cheaper wind power, solar energy saving Americans millions, new jobs in a new and growing industry, and cutting imports of foreign oil by 40%. And, he added, "paying less than $2 a gallon ain't too bad".

And he reiterated what American strength is all about, in his view. The world doesn't revere us only for our arsenal - which he noted is very strong - but for our values. Leadership, according to Mr. Obama is not about nation building or quagmires but in mobilizing nations when we need to. He noted his success in negotiating a multi-nation climate change deal, the Iran nuclear deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership, and in battling the spread of the Ebola virus.

Mr. Obama offered an olive branch to new Speaker Paul Ryan. He praised the Congressional leader for negotiating a bipartisan budget deal, especially in the face of stiff opposition from the Freedom Caucus. He urged Mr. Ryan to continue to cooperate even in the face of angry voices in his own party.

This was an emboldened President. Mr. Obama is looking well beyond his Presidency. This speech was all about someone who wanted to be transformational, has been so to some degree, and wants to be well into the future. He pledged to work until his last in office. And he will be a young former President and we can expect this to be his continuing agenda beyond January 20, 2017.