Whole lotta shakin

John McCain has decided to unofficially-officially replace campaign manager Rick Davis with senior adviser Steve Schmidt (who I suspect to really be Lex Luthor). According to Republican strategist Ed Rollins, Johnny is frustrated at the fact that his message isn’t getting out:

“There really isn’t a message. The message has sort of been ‘I’m experienced and Barack Obama is Barack Obama,’ as opposed to defining John. John is more than a war hero. John is a man who’s had a long career,” Rollins said. “The American public still doesn’t know a lot about him — what does he stand for, what kind of leader he’s going to be.”

Here’s a question — if in some far-distant universe the Republicans chose a nominee like, say, Ron Paul… would he need someone to help define him? Or would his message and his passion for that message ring so clear that a campaign manager would only be in charge of getting his words on the airwaves and in print as often as possible? The same could be asked about Tom Tancredo or any number of non-establishment candidates on the right… most of whom have been pushed so far into the background by the GOP that we have all but forgotten their names.

Marketing is important, but it must be approached in different ways for the different parties. What works so well for Obama won’t work for a Republican candidate. Conservatives want someone who understands the Constitution and reflects their values of smaller government… period. Liberals just want someone with charisma who promises “new” things in the hope that it will somehow give their lives the meaning they have never bothered to give it themselves. And centrists and undecideds will generally gravitate towards whichever candidate makes the best pitch.

Changing McCain’s PR strategy is not going to make him any more appealing than will slapping lipstick on a dinosaur. If any kind of shake-up needs to take place, it should be on the party level. We need new blood in the top positions of the GOP. The existing party elders are too out of touch with the rank-and-file and far too fond of their power to ever come around. The only hope is to somehow get new faces running the party who will start placing younger men (or women) with a fresh conservative message — delivered well — onto the ticket. Not only will that fire up their base, it would win over many of the crucial centrist voters as well.

The true conservative philosophy, when properly presented, is that good.