You might imagine that 'Obamney' is a recent manufacture, something the more reliably conservative candidates came up with in this election cycle to tar Mitt Romney with the brush of his truly stunning range of historical policy preferences eerily close to those of erstwhile opponent Barack Obama. Actually, the term was used as far back as June of 2007 -- back when Hillary Clinton was still the 'inevitable' Democratic nominee, and the leading Republican candidate (if straw polls are to be counted) was probably Bill Frist. Maybe Rudy Giuliani. But (in something of a twist) the author of that 2007 bit, titled "The Vision of Obamney" was addressing foreign policy similarities, that area being of greater concern at the time than the economic issues which ended up dominating the last two election cycles, and the social issues which seem to be rising in importance in the one coming up this year.

Much like Obama, Romney's inconstant positions on most every issue in the book has provided endless fodder for opposition to him. John McCain's camp last month leaked a 200 page opposition report bashing Romney's flip-flops across the board, giving special attention to Romney's past support of abortion -- even federally funded abortion -- and the oddly two-faced timing of Romney's waffling on that issue relative to when he signed pro-abortion legislation in Massachusetts; Romney's lauding of gay marriage at some points and condemning it at others; Romney's sputteringly enthusiastic support for and expansion of Massachusetts' unusually robust regime of gun resrictions contrasted with Romney's just-in-time joining the NRA upon entering the 2008 election fray. McCain himself was likely not behind this leak -- for he had recently endorsed Romney, though he twice accidentally referred to Romney as 'Obama' Tim Pawlenty showed up 'Obamney-care' in an early Republican debate for the 2012 cycle; Newt Gingrich has highlighted "The Obamney Attack on Religious Liberty," pointing out that Romney as governor had the same policy of forcing religious institutions to cover contraception as Obama tried (and failed) to implement.

Now some have suggested that Romney has a Mormon problem, that his affiliation with that church (what with its frankly somewhat disconcertingly cloying YouTube campaign) will hurt him going forward. But that is a side issue, ephemeral, and against Obama that is not the hit on Romney at all; no, the real problem with Romney is indeed the Obamney problem. And not simply that 'Obamney' is the ghostwriting godfather of Obamacare, or that his record in public office has only ever been one of raising taxes and expanding the size and burdensomeness and invasiveness of government. It is that Romney is too like Obama in personality, in political instinct.

Consider -- since Obama has occupied the Oval Office, his instinct has been to show off how much of a 'moderate' and an 'accomodationist' he is on certain issues by going along to get along, by cutting taxes to the lowest rate in decades, trimming restrictions against guns, keeping Guantanamo Bay open and in business as a 'terrorist' detention facility, and using drone attacks to kill terrorists, all lending to a futile sort of shallow and temporary popularity. Of all the issues where Obama has showed a kearning to the left, the most prominent has actually been the gay rights issue, with his repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and his appointment of record numbers of gay executive and judicial branch personnel. Romney, if elected, will follow the same instinct to opposite effect, showing how 'moderate' he is by allowing taxes to be jacked up to record levels, limiting gun ownership, and ignoring the 'social' issues while kowtowing to the big government idealogues in accordance with the natural preference on display through his governance of Massachusetts.

But, come now, people know this, people in their gut have this instinct about the Obamney way of doing business. Which is why nominating Obamney will lead voters to sit on their hands, resulting in a low-turnout affair favoring Obama all down the ticket. Though it is a popular, if naive, contention that the Obama people have been trying to undercut Romney throughout the campaign, a step back from the immediate rhetoric reveals precisely the opposite. Obama has been courting a Romney candidacy since the very beginning of his term in office (indeed, Obama has been hinting since before he was sworn in even that Romney would be his 2012 opponent). The jabs against Romney have been well-crafted to frame Romney as the inevitable opponent, to draw the oxygen from Romney's more consistently conservative rivals for the nomination and aid in knocking them out one by one.

And never mind that Ron Paul and more recently Rick Santorum have polled better against Obama nationally, and much better in the all-important battleground states of 2012. Never mind that Romney only wins where he is able to outspend his opponent by three-to-one or ten-to-one or fifty-to-one (and not always even then), a spending advantage he obviously wouldn't have against a well-heeled Obama come November. Never mind that Romney's depths of negative primary campaigning are doing needless and possibly enduring harm to his party's brand. Obama's hand has been played into by a sucker GOP which has thereby been led by the nose into endorsing the electability myth, and has used what manipulation it can muster to steal votes in Romney's favor in Iowa (temporarily), in Maine it now seems, and in the CPAC vote. All of which plays down towards one ultimate surety in conclusion: If Obamney is the Republican nominee in 2012; and Obamney is the Democratic nominee in 2012; then the winner of the 2012 election is going to be.... Obamney.

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