The Borg Absorbs the Former Resistance

It’s all very predictable, but I have to admit I’m impressed with how rapidly the Romney campaign is absorbing the legions of conservative activists–or at least their leaders–who fought his nomination for so long. It’s clear this is one of its main objectives at present. Check out this not-so-veiled reference in Rick Santorum’s email to his minions about his recent meeting with Romney:

As it is often said, “personnel is policy.” I strongly encouraged Governor Romney as he builds out his campaign staff and advisors that he add more conservative leaders as an integral part of his team. And you can be sure that I will work with the Governor to help him in this task to ensure he has a strong team that will support him in his conservative policy initiatives.

He might have been thinking of his former campaign manager Mike Biundo, who has been named “coalitions director” for Team Mitt, which is another way of saying the guy who has a budget to coopt as many people from his (and probably Newt Gingrich’s) organizational charts as possible. Indeed, as National Review’s Robert Costa reports in a piece entitled “Beyond Boston,” buying off the organized Right appears to be Job One. Appropriately enough, Costa turns to the guy who has long stood at the very intersection of money and ideology in the GOP, Grover Norquist, for a progress report:

“They are doing a reasonably good job,” says Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and the host of an influential weekly meeting of conservative activists. “In terms of bringing the party together, the polling shows that happening. In terms of outreach to the movement, they’re sending people to our Wednesday meeting, such as policy director Lanhee Chen, and hosting lunches with key people.”

You can’t take the politics out of politics, and you sure as hell can’t take money and status out of Republican politics. But it will be interesting to see how lavishly “Boston” spreads both among hungry tribes of conservative activists in the weeks just ahead.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.