Both campaigns, in the closing stretch, seem not fully worthy of the moment. We are in crisis—a once-in-a-century event, as we now say. And what we got from the candidates, in this week's presidential debate, was a bunch of gummy meanderings—smooth, rounded sentences so full of focus-grouped inanities that six minutes in viewers entered a kind of trance in which we almost immediately gave up on trying to wrest meaning from what was being said and instead focused on mere impressions.
Noonan has a way with words. Note that she wrote "meanderings" where many writers would use "maundering." Here's the American Heritage Dictionary on "maundering":
1. To talk incoherently or aimlessly. 2. To move or act aimlessly or vaguely; wander.Sounds exactly right, no? But then: