Scene: The Oval Office. President Obama has gathered with his chief advisers to discuss a serious foreign policy problem: the President’s reluctance to visit the chief temple of the Sikhs on his trip to India.
Obama: Ok, you all know why you’re here. Now, we’ve already communicated to the Sikhs that I won’t be dropping by their mosque…
David Plouffe: Excuse me, sir, but it’s not a mosque. The Sikhs aren’t Muslims.
Obama: Well, whatever. Mosque, church, cathedral, mission house. The thing is, I’d have to cover my head, and if I wear anything that even remotely smacks of a turban or keffiyeh – even a Washington Nationals towel - the Republicans and the teabaggers are going to start going off about my being a Muslim. I was willing to compromise, but, apparently, the Sikhs objected to my choice of headgear.
David Axelrod: Mr. President, a baseball cap with an image of Joe Camel smoking a “Camel wide” was perceived by the Sikhs as being, er, insufficiently respectful.
Obama: I don’t know why. You know how much those things are going for on eBay?
Axelrod: I believe it’s more the imagery, sir, than the monetary value of the cap.
Obama: Bismillah! Well, how about this: the first section of the Washington Post made up into a cocked hat?
Plouffe: Mr. President, I’m afraid that may have certain…um…Napoleonic connotations, with respect to both the ambitiousness of the historical original, as well as the stereotypical representation of the loony-bin inmate. Anyway, we think we may be able to get away with something simple, like a black Homburg.
Obama: Hmm. That might work. Didn’t FDR wear a Homburg?
Plouffe: Occasionally, sir, yes.
Obama: Say, that’s fine, then!
Axelrod: The only other thing, of course, is that you won’t be able to wear shoes in the temple.
Obama: You’re kidding me, right?
Axelrod: No, Mr. President, the protocol on that is pretty rigid. You have to wash your feet outside the temple, and walk around barefoot inside.
Obama: Like Tom Sawyer coming back from the fishin’ hole? No way. Besides…well…I don’t like to mention it, but I’ve got toenail fungus. The whole thing would be a PR disaster. Unless you think I could fool ‘em with those new things. What are they called? Foot gloves, I think.
Axelrod: Excellent idea, sir! I’ll look into it. Oh, by the way, while I’m here, did you want to talk about the latest intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program?
Obama: No, no. We’ve covered the important stuff. Just find me a pair of medium-brown foot gloves.