"I think he'd be awesome, he'd be a force. I just hope it's for the right party," said Kerry, an avid cyclist and longtime fan of the Tour de France.
You can insert your punchline about John Kerry and the French here, but here's a tip of the helmet to Lance Armstrong. Best cyclist in the world, beats cancer, and he got to go out with Sheryl Crow. Life is good.
UPDATE: Ron Gunzburger at Politics 1: "During his racing career - and particularly during the 2004 elections - Armstrong was very careful to never express support for any candidate or political party, or even define his political views beyond some rather vague comments implying he is moderately liberal on a few social issues..."
In general, athletes lean toward the conservative, and I have a half-formed pet theory. Unlike other business, and unlike even other performing arts and forms of entertainment, sports is a relative meritocracy. There's a concrete and absolute standard of measurement: the ball goes in the hole or basket or net, you cross the finish line or goal line ahead of the competitor. And this may inspire a sort of social Darwinism among athletes (who at the pro level also tend to be wealthy). Sure, some competitors are unpopular pains in the butt (Randy Moss springs to mind) but barring extreme cases the player can get away with a lot as long as the winning continues.
There's also the impetus of marketing, summed up in Michael Jordan's infamous quote when he shied away from endorsing Harvey Gantt over Jesse Helms: "Republicans buy shes, too." And bikes.
There's exceptions to all, of course, as I remember caucusing for Bill Bradley (who His Airness did endorse, probably with a nudge from Bradley teammate Phil Jackson). And my dear father the Coach is a raging moderate who serves as my reality check when I occasionaly exit the cocoon of the People's Republic of Johnson County. But I think there's some truth to my theory and I'd be interested in the thoughts of my tiny handful of readers.
UPDATED update. TIME reports:
"Armstrong has hinted at a future in politics. He’s inspired millions of Americans to wear yellow Livestrong bracelets, so he has a base. “Lance showed everybody that willpower matters,” says Giorgio Andretta, a Charlotte, N.C. bicycle importer who traveled to the Champs-Elysées to catch Armstrong’s last win. And his home state of Texas will elect a governor next year. “Never say never,” Armstrong told TIME about his political ambitions. “I’m a fighter, and I do have certain beliefs. I don’t think I’m truly cut out for it, but if people want it in ten years, who knows?” Ten Tour de Frances, or Senator Armstrong in ten years? If we have to settle for elections, his greatest wins may still be down the road. "