Lance for President, Lance for Governor of Texas, Lance for whatever he wants.
Every few months some Armstrong-approved media person will ask him a variation on the theme. Are you interested in running for political office? The answer is always no, delivered with a shake of the head and a smile that underlines the response with “why would I be that crazy?”
Make no mistake with the seven time Tour champ, corporate monster, multi-million dollar cancer fundraiser and parent of five kids: he likes to win. Whatever it is: a bike race, card game, eating contest, who gets the first Nissan Leaf. Running for office is an endurance event and you know how Juan Pelota does with those.
So we at Twisted Spoke continue to pose the hypothetical question: would Lance Armstrong jump into politics? Being the exceedingly well-prepared man he is, Armstrong always has a few options and back-up plans in motion. These photos make it clear just how simple it might be. These could easily be pictures of the dynamic, world famous Armstrong on the campaign trail.
Winning elections is mostly a game of who has the most money, the best political machine and the highest likeability score. Despite the PR boot kick the Texan continues to take from the Landis doping allegations, the Boss is still the Boss. He’s already got the Cancer vote, Biker vote, Nike vote, Oakley and Michelob vote sewed up — that’s a serious majority right there.
Should he ever decide to run, he has a sizable war chest, the organizational firepower of the Livestrong Foundation and his own enduring legend as the greatest endurance athlete of our time and the most famous cancer survivor. That puts him ahead in the polls the second he announces.
These two photos taken from lancearmstrong.com are not causal snaps; they’re scripted, posed and manipulated for emotional impact. Lance with the stars and stripes flag, looking with a hard but visionary eye off in the distance where he sees a better America. He’ll make the difficult choices, bring pragmatism and hope to the tired masses and make sure everybody gets a case of Honey Stinger waffles. It’s not about the bike, it’s about the county, people!
The second photo radiates with a John F Kennedy glow, the boyish do-gooder, the guy who can energize the country, end the bitter political infighting and launch us forward on great tasks. There’s pride and can-do and dynamism. Who dares vote against this man besides Floyd Landis — and hell, Floyd probably isn’t even registered.
For now, Armstrong is plenty busy and has wisely taken the Al Gore approach. People begged the Nobel prize winner to run for president but he rightly felt he could influence change more effectively from the outside than the inside. The same is no doubt true for Mellow Johnny. He can pick his issues, dip in and out, go for maximum visibility and success with a minimum of effort. A good gig.
The flip side is that there are few challenges hard enough and intriguing enough to interest Armstrong and he may find himself with a bad case of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bored, restless, ego still starved for attention, the man decided to run for governor of California. It was a different kind of action thriller but at least he was back in the public eye.
Armstrong is already highly engaged in some of the great debates like health care and cancer funding and the environment. The man operates on a massive scale and perhaps one day soon Armstrong will run out of interesting challenges. You can only drink so much Michelob Ultra and watch so many of your son’s little league baseball games. When that day arrives, politics may well prove too tempting.
And besides, who doesn’t think Johan Bruyneel, who speaks at least five languages, wouldn’t make a fine Secretary of State?