• A shoe-in
What is it about international politics and shoes?
Back in the prime of the Cold War, Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev was prone to whipping off his shoe and banging it on his desk during United Nations meetings to emphasize his hatred of the US. Now, during George Bush’s farewell tour of places he’s screwed up, the almost-former president had two shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist during a press conference. (Video here of the attack and Bush’s reaction to it.)
But those are not isolated instances of shoes and politics being strange bedfellows. Consider these tidbits:
• Imelda Marcos earned worldwide ridicule when, as first lady of the Philippines, she collected literally thousands of pairs of shoes while much of her country’s population was dirt poor.
• Tony Blair attributed his long success in UK politics to his lucky shoes.
• Bush warhawk Paul Wolfowitz made a brief stir when he doffed his shoes while visiting a Turkish mosque and revealed his ratty socks had holes in them.
• Sarah Palin’s wardrobe came under scrutiny when it was learned the Republican National Committee re-outfitted her and some of her family to make them look more presentable to voters. However, her aides pointed out that her red Double Dare Naughty Monkey shoes were paid for out of her own pocketbook.
The lesson here may be that if you decide to go into public life, decide on your choice in footwear before you take that first step.