What madness! What dream world is Axelrod living in? "Elmer Gantry" is a novel from 1927. It was made into a film in 1960 — half a century ago. I'm 61 years old and the movie pre-dates my movie-going days. Normal Americans are supposed to be conversant with this character? I mean, I know it's a fictional character who was played by Burt Lancaster in the movie that had something to do with religion, but I have to look it up in Wikipedia to try to see what Axelrod was driving at:
The novel tells the story of a young, narcissistic, womanizing college athlete who abandons his early ambition to become a lawyer. The legal profession does not suit the unethical Gantry, who then becomes a notorious and cynical alcoholic. Gantry is mistakenly ordained as a Baptist minister, briefly acts as a "New Thought" evangelist, and eventually becomes a Methodist minister. He acts as manager for Sharon Falconer, an itinerant evangelist. Gantry becomes her lover....Sounds more like Obama than Mitt Romney. New Thought, eh? That made me buy the book, downloaded in Kindle:
... a vicious satire of preachers and those they fool. Gantry has no redeeming features but is seen by the gullible public as a man who speaks the truth about God. Of course he could just as easily have been a lawyer or a politician and the heart of Lewis’s satire is how easily people believe what they want to believe.That really does sound like Obama. Interesting that the character is fixed in the Mind of Axelrod! Wish I could trace that thought-path back to its origin.
NOTE: I corrected a couple errors in the transcript text, based on watching the recorded show.
ADDED: A passage from the book that made me think of how Obama might have felt on debate day:
Now that he often had as many as a thousand in the audience, as he peeped out at them from the study he had stage-fright. Could he hold them? What the deuce had he intended to say about communion? He couldn't remember a word of it. It was not easy to keep on urging the unsaved to come forward as though he really thought they would and as though he cared a hang whether they did or not.
It was not easy, on communion Sundays, when they knelt round the altar rail, to keep from laughing at the sanctimonious eyes and prim mouths of brethren whom he knew to be crooks in private business. It was not easy to go on saying with proper conviction that whosoever looked on a woman to lust after her would go booming down to hell when there was a pretty and admiring girl in the front row. And it was hardest of all, when he had done his public job, when he was tired and wanted to let down, to stand about after the sermon and be hand-shaken by aged spinster saints who expected
him to listen without grinning while they quavered that he was a silver-plated angel and that they were just like him.