Reflections Blog

Reflections

Lance, We Hardly Knew Ya

Lance Armstrong’s colossal house of cards recently came crashing down during two well-orchestrated interviews with Oprah Winfrey on national television.  For the media, it was a ratings extravaganza fueled by the public flogging of a once-revered sports legend.  For cycling insiders, it was the lancing of a boil that had been festering for years.  And for many Americans and others around the world it was the humiliating discovery that the hero they had worshipped and cheered through one victory after another was a fraud, a little like learning that your favorite uncle is a crook and a pedophile.

What makes Lance Armstrong’s downfall so bitter for us is that we had elevated him to such stellar heights.  He was the celebrity cancer survivor, the solemn spokesman for defeating death. A fierce competitor, driven and strong, he exemplified what you could make of yourself if you were as focused and determined and disciplined as he was.  He created Livestrong Foundation, the cancer nonprofit that raised the hopes of hundreds of thousands of cancer sufferers.  He won the Tour de France, the granddaddy of cycling’s grueling races, seven consecutive times.  He was everything we hoped we could be if only we were more like him.

Sarah Palin Superstar

Sarah PalinWhether you love her or hate her, it would be hard to argue that Sarah Palin is one of the most fascinating people to arrive in the public arena in some time. When John McCain picked her as his running mate in 2008, it’s fair to say that most people outside of Alaska had never heard of her. Now she is a contributor on Fox News, gets a hundred grand for speaking engagements, has a media following that puts her in the spotlight whenever she appears in public, and tops at least some people’s list of candidates for the presidency in 2012

How powerful is this woman? And could she become our next president?

Looking at her sources of power helps illuminate why Sarah Palin became a populist sensation and whether her star will shine brightly in the night sky for a long time to come or whether, like a shooting star, she will fizzle out after a spectacular display of pyrotechnics.

By Terry R. Bacon
Tags: Sarah Palin, John McCain, Fox News, power, influence, knowledge, character, attraction, reputation, network, information, role, resources, history, expressiveness, Dancing with the Stars, Bristol Palin, Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party, Barack Obama
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