Forget the barns full of dressage horses, the car elevators and the Town and Country collection of estates and resort homes. Forget the inherited family wealth and the vulture capitalism. Forget the offshore banks, the Swiss accounts and the steady stream of Bain Capital checks.

When Mitt Romney wants to say “money,” he calls Karl Rove.

And George Bush’s political czar answers.

Rove will be the special guest this weekend when Romney gathers his core constituency—supporters who have raised more than $100,000 for his campaign—at the posh Utah ski resort where the Republican crown prince will plot his coronation.

Yes, of course, there is the inconvenient matter of the November 6 election.

But Rove will explain that away at “The First National Romney Victory Leadership Retreat.”

The political operative formerly known as “Bush’s Brain” and now recognized as the GOP’s campaign-finance puppetmaster will brief more than 100 Romney contribution bundlers—and as many as 600 other donors and fund-raising specialists—on how his Crossroads GPS operations will unleash a money flood to overwhelm Democrats in 2012. Of course, it is illegal for Rove to coordinate campaigning with the Romney camp, so his presence at the event is, um, “educational.”

Aside from the Rove lecture there will be entertainment at the Chateaux at Silver Lake resort—“suites are decorated with rich elegant fabrics and woods and include plush terry robes, heated towel racks… gas fireplaces and pillow top feather beds”—in the Utah Mountains above Park City. Prospective Republican vice presidential nominees who have been invited to participate in the talent competition include Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, South Dakota Senator John Thune, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Not on the list is Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is so not going to be on the GOP ticket this fall. Several other Republicans who are on Romney’s long “shortlist” of vice presidential prospects will miss the Utah event, including Ohio Senator Rob Portman and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte. But Rubio’s absence is particularly notable, as there is mounting evidence that past ethical problems have knocked his out of contention.

Chances are that Ryan, the ablest of the potential VP nominees will shine most brightly during the talent competition.

But the real star of “The First National Romney Victory Leadership Retreat” won’t be one of the vice presidential beauty contestants.

It won’t even be Mitt Romney, who remains pretty much what he has always been: a spectator at his own campaign.

The star will be Rove, and the money he controls.

Romney would not have gotten anywhere near the Republican nomination without the massive spending by his campaign and his SuperPAC used to knock out more popular Republican contenders.

And Romney would not now be a serious contender for the presidency without the promise that the money spent on his behalf. not merely by his campaign and his Super PAC, but by Rove’s Crossroads combine.

Money has become the defining factor in our politics.

Money’s what Mitt Romney will be celebrating this weekend.

Thats appropriate, as money is only thing Mitt Romney has going for him.