An apt description. “In an era of deep polarization and critical distrust of all things Washington, [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich is not perfect; he is not all things to all people. But he is an example of a competent manager hell-bent on reform, on being a doer, and that is something both sides desperately want all across the country.”

The U.S. Capitol building stands in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. U.S. President Barack Obama will use his State of the Union address tonight to lay out what he calls a "blueprint" for revitalizing the economy, emphasizing a rebirth for U.S. manufacturing, bolstering domestic energy production and training workers. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg The U.S. Capitol. (Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg)

A keen eye spotted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) at this gathering: “This week, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is marking its 20th anniversary. Last week, the anti-Communist world, so to speak, marked 25 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre. In November, there will be a celebration: the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall. VOC (as the Victims of Communism foundation is known) is intended to teach people about Communism: its ideology, its record. The organization was founded by Lee Edwards, a Heritage Foundation scholar, and the late Lev Dobriansky, who taught economics at Georgetown.” Good for Sen. Cruz.

An effective argument for why we need drones. “Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Sunni extremists taking over parts of Iraq could pose an immediate threat to the United States. On CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ Feinstein said the U.S. knows of at least 100 U.S. citizens who have gone overseas to fight alongside terrorists.” Someone tell Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Then tell him about this insightful analysis. “Well, I think right now [ISIS is] focused on establishing the Islamic state in the region. But I think after that is the external operations against the West and the United States. It is the number one threat to the homeland. The secretary of homeland security agrees with me that in that assessment. And why is that? Because you’re having foreign fighters pour all over this world into this region with legal travel documents: 100 Americans, many Europeans, people from Australia. This is a major threat to not the region and Iraq but also to the security of the American people on American soil.”

Another able analysis, this time from David Brooks: “The first is the discrete ISIS issue, which we simply cannot allow there to be an ISIS caliphate. And I’d say that’s got to be a strategy. So far, I think there’s a bipartisan agreement on what needs to happen, and we heard it today. The only disagreement is how aggressive you’re going to be.”

We can only hope the next administration will be more adept at dealing with — at least more honest about — the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Accusations that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is reluctant to negotiate for peace bury the true headline: that his government has unilaterally reduced Israeli settlement construction and largely constrained it to a narrow segment of territory. This might well be the signal that Israel’s historical settlement enterprise is nearing its end, and whatever its reasons — international pressures, demographic fears, or a shift in public opinion — it is a trend that deserves U.S. attention. At the very least, American and European condemnations of Israeli settlement activity should be replaced with comments that reflect this new reality. Israel is still constructing, but not in a way that will prevent a realistic peace settlement.”

A skillful response to the church’s noxious BDS resolution. “You know, I would suggest to those Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour. Go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice: One is make sure it’s an armor-plated bus. And, second, don’t say that you’re Christians.”