But the fact is that voters want a president who basically shares their values and life experiences. Fairly or not, they look at symbols like Michael Dukakis in a tank, John Kerry’s windsurfing or John Edwards’s haircut as clues about shared values.

Would someone please tell David Brooks that the current, two-term occupant of the White House is the son of the 41st President? And that, like his predecessor, Bush has an advanced degree from an Ivy League university?

In all honesty, it’s a damn shame that Obama and Edwards, both relative hard-luck cases from extremely modest backgrounds, get heat for being “elitist.” I realize that Dubya’s love of monogrammed windbreakers makes him look like a downgrade suburbanite, but 1) he’s not 2) I kind of miss aspirational culture and wish that David Brooks wouldn’t peddle mediocrity in the pages of the Paper of Record. Not to mention:

When Obama goes to a church infused with James Cone-style liberation theology, when he makes ill-informed comments about working-class voters, when he bowls a 37 for crying out loud, voters are going to wonder if he’s one of them. Obama has to address those doubts, and he has done so poorly up to now.

Gooble gobble, gooble gobble! One of us! One of us! Brooks doesn’t like TUCC; fine. But this bowling shit has to stop. We know Obama was a decent basketball player, a vastly superior sport and if we’re talking about what the volk are interested in it’s clearly a little more popular than bowling. Brooks has read Robert Putnam, right?

Maybe I’m just getting paranoid, but when Obama gets knocked for going to a black megachurch, for not understanding “working-class” people (despite getting his start as a community organizer) and being terrible at a dumb sport, “one of them” starts to sound like “white enough.”

Lest you think I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, there are profound political decisions Obama has made that do raise questions about his candidacy–namely, his unwavering support of the local Democratic machine. That does make me wonder about his actual interest in supporting the working class. And as much as my colleague Ben Joravsky is eminently qualified to write about this subject, I wish he wasn’t the only person doing it.

NB: Don’t ever–ever–listen to this man about haircuts:

David Brooks: Couldn’t pay $500 for a haircut if he tried