Not sure why I bother, but what is it about Maureen Dowd, Barack Obama, and food? Dowd has repeatedly mocked Obama’s “abstemious” tastes and how these set him apart from the great, fat, American mainstream:

July 16: He’s already in danger of seeming too prissy about food…

July 13: He looked frustrated when Sasha revealed that “my dad doesn’t like sweets” and that he preferred “minty gum” to bubble gum. She then began singsonging “Everybody should like ice cream” before pointing a finger at the person who doesn’t: “Except Daddy!”

As Margaret Carlson told Mike Barnicle on “Hardball,” in a segment called “Is Obama Too Cool?,” about whether he relates to average Americans, sometimes you just want to tell the guy, “Eat the doughnut.”

Whether Obama was irritated that he had slipped up and exposed his daughters or was annoyed that his kids were exposing more delicious details about his finicky, abstemious tastes, we’ll never know.

May 21: “Oh, you’re so witty with all your stupid rallies with 75,000 people and spending $100 million on ads to promote one puny word: Change. I’ve made sacrifices in this campaign. While you’ve been fake-eating and losing weight, I’ve had to stuff myself with all that greasy working-class junk food and chase it with Boilermakers.”

May 4: Checking out what the vets were drinking, he announced, “I’m going to have a Bud.” Then, showing he’s a smart guy who can learn and assimilate, he took big swigs from his beer can, a marked improvement on the delicate sip he took at a brewery in Bethlehem, Pa.

April 27: Hillary is not getting much sleep or exercise, and doesn’t, like the ascetic Obama, abstain from junk food and coffee and get up at dawn to work out on the road…He dutifully enthused about carbs, assuring reporters that when he had dinner as a child with his Kansas grandparents, the food “would have been very familiar to anybody here in Indiana. A lot of pot roast, potatoes and Jell-O molds.”

April 23: In the final days in Pennsylvania, he dutifully logged time at diners and force-fed himself waffles, pancakes, sausage and a Philly cheese steak. He split the pancakes with Michelle, left some of the waffle and sausage behind, and gave away the French fries that came with the cheese steak.

But this is clearly a man who can’t wait to get back to his organic scrambled egg whites.

April 2: At the Wilbur chocolate shop in Lititz Monday, he spent most of his time skittering away from chocolate goodies, as though he were a starlet obsessing on a svelte waistline.

“Oh, now,” the woman managing the shop told him with a frown, “you don’t worry about calories in a chocolate factory.”

The Times’s Michael Powell reports that, after watching five plump, white-haired women in plastic hairnets spin the chocolate into such confections as “Phantom of the Opera” masks and pink high heels, he ventured: “Do you actually eat the chocolate or do you get sick of it?” They giggled at his silliness.

He looked even more concerned when he was offered a chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting. “Oh, man.” he said. “That’s too decadent for me.”

Of course, this is all meaningless nonsense having nothing to do with what Obama might do as president, how he might do it, or even whom he might hire as White House chef. But even on its own terms – as an attempted insight into Obama’s alleged finickiness or his supposed distance from the Applebee’s set – it doesn’t make sense. A presidential candidate is apparently attempting to eat right while having a mix of fried road food and catered campaign meals shoved at him eight times a day. He should be hailed as a role model, not damned for failing to wolf down every last fry.

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