As from Wednesday, I’d like the president to stop being so high-minded about avoiding corny symbolic theatrics and start playing to win. The absurd myth, for instance, that he’s really a Muslim would be easier to knock out if he strode from the White House every Sunday with a big old Gutenberg Bible and marched his family—with the first daughters in adorable Sunday best—to the nearest Episcopalian church. Back in his Chicago Senate days, when he was seeking greater black credibility, Obama was happy enough to attend the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ. What’s wrong with a bit of God-fearing symbolism of a different kind now? There was a reason Hillary Clinton showed up at the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfasts when she was trying to network across the aisles. “Worshipping in private,” as Obama does, comes off as just another form of annoying elitism…

On the cultural-symbolic front, Obama has failed too to make the grand gesture—think of how meek his concert-and-arts initiatives have been, compared to the ones Jackie Kennedy foisted on Jack. Its strange to have a great writer-president mum on the arts.