By now, starting with Ronald Reagan, I figure I’ve had to watch and comment on at least 25 State of the Union addresses. Without a doubt, last night’s speech by George W. Bush was the worst I’ve had to suffer through. He took almost 50 minutes to say absolutely nothing.

For all the conviction Bush displayed at the podium, he might just as well have mailed it in. For the most part, his State of the Union was simply a litany of endless promises, strung together with no transition, no plan, no passion, and no hope of becoming law.

Even on Iraq, the president was lame. Still trying to sell his ill-fated plan to send more troops to Baghdad, the best argument Bush could come up with was: “Give it a chance to work.” Give it a chance? We’ve given it four years. It’s not working. It’s not going to work. No wonder even so few Republicans stood up to applaud that feeble cry for help.

On domestic policy, Bush was even more unconvincing. Suddenly, he’s calling for energy independence, national healthcare, a balanced federal budget (!), and — would you believe? — finally getting serious about global warming. All worthy goals, but all issues he’s done nothing about for the last six years.

Bush even blew his best moment. After graciously recognizing the significance of having Nancy Pelosi sit behind him as the first woman Speaker, he turned around to congratulate “the Democrat majority.”

No, no, no! The noun is “Democrat.” The adjective is “Democratic,” and Bush knows it. But Bush couldn’t resist using what goofy Republicans have adopted as a linguistic slur for members of the oppostion party.

Is it too much to ask that those who want to make English the official language of the United States learn to speak it first?