In short, low taxes, secure borders, moral governance, sober government spending, ethical leadership, exploration and conservation of petroleum, and strong defense is what the American public wants — but those core principles have to be articulated hourly and can't be compromised. In an honest debate, Obama's alternatives to the above would be to turn toward more government, higher taxes, more bureacracies, more dependence of the individual upon the state, etc. And I can't believe the public wants a prescription that historically simply doesn't work.
I think in their depression, the Republicans fail to see that their problems were not in their principles, but rather in the sometimes sleezy and sloppy way they advanced them — and even more often in the manner that they abandoned them — and as a result, they are apparently eager to compromise on them.
To the degree McCain can articulate the above, he will win; to the degree that he either cannot or believes the latest gurus that he must abandon them, he will lose. Moving toward a lite version of the Obamian/European "bipartisan"and socialist view of government and calling it a new conservatism is a prescription for utter disaster.
Will the Republican Party take his advice? Probably not. It seems to be in a drag race with the Democratic Party to see which can commit suicide first.