It looks like strategy, but it's not.
It is a strategy in the game theory sense of the word, but not in the normal colloquial sense of the word.
There is no absurdity in picking a "gene", however defined, as the unit that is selected on, because evolution is a process of adding to and paring from what already exists. If we go back far enough in natural history, there must have been a time when only "genes" existed, whether they were nucleic acids or proteins, or anything else for that matter. When we extrapolate that far--and if we can't, then all of Darwinian evolution is incorrect--then it becomes obvious that on some level genes are selected on.
Yes, but then most everyone promptly forgets that, and he doesn't help... Also, I don't think he would have won the Pulitzer if he didn't take that approach.
First, its not Dawkins' fault that Neocons have misconstrued his writings as a way to justify a nouveau form of "social Darwinism" (which is a whole other non-sensical topic).
Second, I agree, and I believe he said as much, that he purposely used provocative language to get people to notice. And in that regard he was certainly successful. I think where he was unsuccessful was that he thought that writing an engaging popular science book about modern Darwinian theory would raise public awareness of Darwinism itself. This did not happen. Still today, the biology textbooks in any high school biology class contain one or two chapters out of maybe 50 devoted specifically to Darwinism. This travesty is a lasting legacy of the whole Scopes Monkey Trial debacle. In truth 100% of any basic biology text should be written with Darwinian thought in mind, since 100% of biology results from some form of selection. Its a miscarriage of social justice that biology can't be taught the way it should be in this country, and it leads to result like we have, where people are told they are free to believe or not believe in evolution.
Maybe one day we'll teach a version of physics where the students are encouraged to "think critically about whether gravity actually exists, because gravity is 'just a theory' among many competing theories." We have at least two generations now that were not taught science correctly in school. I am nervous about how this will affect the future.