On Saturday I signed up for a supported bike ride. I could choose between 10 miles, 30 miles, and 63 miles.  The longest ride I’d done this year was 20 miles back in July and I hadn’t biked in a month. Naturally, I chose to do 63 miles. Turned out to be a fun ride full of challenging hills, gusty head winds and some rain. It took me 5 1/2 hours. Here’s a map of the course complete with an elevation chart.

Most people would consider it foolhardy to jump from an occasional ride on the flat to a challenging  ride three times longer than their previous longest. My secret is that I an 3/4 way through a marathon training plan.  I’d run some of the same hills the previous weekend. A person with similar biking experience but without my base of fitness and endurance would have struggled mightily to complete the ride. For me, biking is cross-training; it helps me prepare for a marathon.

America’s Presidents have, for the most part, built a base of experience in relevant areas, developed a successful approach to problem-solving, and adapted to the new demands of the Presidency. A governorship, a successful military career, or a business career followed by public service,  provides that base. Unfortunately, the present incumbent has no base of relevant experience and has never had to solve any policy challenges.  He came to office with the mindset of a 1970s radical, surrounded himself with like-minded radicals, and proceeded to destroy the American economy. Whether it was by malice or design, the result is the same: the country stands on a fiscal precipice with unfunded liabilities threatening to drown the upcoming generations in debt and despair.

Of the four people on the 2008 tickets, only one had built a base of experience in relevant areas and developed a successful approach to problem solving. It wasn’t Barack Obama, as is now painfully obvious to us and the world. It wasn’t Joe Biden, a man who served a year in the senate 36 times. It wasn’t John McCain, another professional politician with exceptionally brave military service to his credit. That leaves Sarah Palin.

Ran a small business? Check.

Successful Mayor? Check.

Successful regulator? Check.

Successful Governor? Check.

Solved the long standing gas pipe-line problem? Check.

Fixed the relationship between Big Oil and the State of Alaska in Alaska’s favor? Check.

Rooted out corruption in the Alaskan GOP? Check.

Survived the most hostile personal attacks in US history? Check.

She is a tough competitor in sports, from High School basketball in Wasilla, to a sub-4 hour marathon in 2005. Funny thing, she has only gotten stronger since 2008. Courage under fire? She’s got that, too.