What Would McCain Do?

As we begin October, I remember the same month, just a year ago, when I was working on the McCain – Palin presidential campaign. I was convinced then, as I am today, that John McCain was the better choice to lead the country due to his views and experience in both the domestic and international arenas. Certain recent developments continue to vindicate my belief that President Obama was not and is not ready to lead our country. Here are four important areas where I believe President McCain would have handled things differently.

#1. Afghanistan

President Obama has followed up the shrewd appointment of General McChrystal by mishandling the direct result of that appointment -- the general’s report on the state of the war in Afghanistan and his request for more troops. Instead of making a decision to comply with the the general’s request or turn it down Mr. Obama has characteristically just waffled. It looks like he's trying to avoid being judged by the result of either decision. Such a lack of direction from the president has left U.S. troops in Afghanistan in limbo. The Taliban and other insurgent groups have been emboldened by the American president’s indecisiveness.

Senator McCain, due to his own military background and deep knowledge of related matters has always exhibited steady foresight on military affairs, specifically evidenced by his early and unwavering support of appointment of General Petraeus and the surge in Iraq, both of which proved to be successful.

Here's what President McCain would have done: He would have made a decision on how to act in regards to the McChrystal report long before it was “leaked” and would have done so with conviction that reassured both the American public and the military.

#2. The Chicago Olympics Bid

President Obama’s trip to Denmark to support his hometown’s Olympic bid is the first time, ever, that a sitting U.S. president has made to lobby the International Olympic Committee. The United States has done fine without such presidential missions; eight modern Olympics have been held on our soil. President Obama fails to understand that while his message on everything from health care to the financial system to diplomacy has been full of doom and gloom, it is a public relations blunder to go to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago on the same day there is a top level meeting on Iran.

Here's what John McCain would have done if he were president: He would have sent a trusted adviser with foreign policy expertise, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, or even his Secretary of State, to address the IOC. But he would have realized that for a U.S. president to personally get involved is a mistake, especially during trying and difficult times both domestically and abroad.

#3. Eastern European Anti-Ballistic Missile Shield

While the merits of the decision to drop the proposed shield can be debated, the timing and the process were mishandled. The McCain White House and State Department would have done better.

Based on foreign policy experience heres what President McCain would have done...

1. Realized that the U.S. cannot appear to leave its Eastern European allies in a lurch, both in front of the world arena and their domestic constituencies and therefore he would have come up with a replacement plan that would assuage said allies.

2. Understood that if the decision to drop the proposed shield was made, the proposal needed to be phased out instead of being abandoned in an abrupt about-face; and

3. Would have pressed Russia to publicly commit to cooperation on other international fronts, such as Iran, in return for the abandoning the missile shield proposal, so that it is not portrayed in the press that the U.S. gave up the proposed shield for nothing.

#4. Health Care

During the election we heard candidate Barack Obama talk time and time again about the need for bipartisanship and his willingness to work together with Republicans. That talk has been left in the dust of the past. The present reality has consisted of the Obama team attempting to ram all kinds of legislation from the stimulus to health care through the House and the Senate without allowing the Republicans in either chamber to have any meaningful input.

Here's what President McCain would have done: Unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain has a long history of bipartisanship (see McCain-Feingold for just one example.) President McCain  would have... 

1. Known better than to initiate a debate on a sweeping overhaul of our health care system during a severe economic downturn.

2. Not let Congress draft their own versions of any health care legislation.

3. Used his experience and relationships on Capitol Hill to pass measured health care legislation with real bipartisan support and avoided the dogfight that currently confronts President Obama.

America made its choice last November. Barack Obama is president. Still, one can hope that President Obama will begin to address some of the tough issues facing our country by taking a moment to stop and think... What Would John McCain Do?

Boris Epshteyn is a political strategist, attorney and business consultant in New York City. He served as a communications aide on the McCain – Palin 2008 presidential campaign. He is a frequent guest on Foxnews.com's "The Strategy Room" and appears occasionally on other FOX News Channel programs. Contact him at boris@strategy-llc.com.