Hmmm: Palin sends out fundraising letter ... for the RNC

Remember four months ago when she was demanding that they remove her name from an RNC fundraising invitation to donors? Some pol-watchers at the time took that as a sign that she was trying to distance herself from the Republican brand. (“Who wouldn’t want to be sort of seen as more of an outsider and that’s how she’s positioned herself.”) Fast-forward to today and suddenly she’s signing letters on their behalf. What gives? Two theories. One: She’s turned out to be such a good soldier and is so favorably disposed to Michael Steele that she’s willing to do a fundraising favor for an organization that desperately needs one right now to prepare for the midterms. Two: She really is eyeing a presidential run and wants to build a line of political credit with establishment types who aren’t big fans of hers at the moment.

The two aren’t mutually exclusive, of course.

In a surprising move given her reputation as a political outsider, Sarah Palin is helping the Republican National Committee raise money ahead of November’s elections…

“Millions of Americans are expressing their frustration with the state of our government. I join them and seek to return our country to greatness,” reads the letter, obtained by CNN Friday.

“To accomplish this, working within our two party system, I join the RNC – the political home for “Commonsense Conservatives” who want to re-take governance – and I ask you to join me,” the former Republican vice presidential nominee’s letter continues. “Let’s bring our new brand of Reagan conservatism to our party and the country!”

Translation: I know tea partiers and grassroots conservatives aren’t thrilled with Beltway Republicans, but it’s time to be smart and dig deep. How deep? Dude:

The Republican National Committee is entering the fall election season with dire financial problems and, to an unprecedented degree, will be forced to rely upon outside groups to fund activities traditionally paid for by the national party…

With $11 million on hand as of the end of June—and about $2 million in reported debt—the RNC’s paid get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort will be limited to just targeted House races, POLITICO has learned.

And the committee is only going to be able to spend money on those relatively inexpensive House races thanks to a $10 million line of credit that was approved at the meeting here. Until then, said one incredulous Republican, there was no money available for paid GOTV activities like mailers and automated phone calls.

How bad is it? According to Politico, the RNC’s given $4 million to the NRSC and NRCC thus far, which is as much as it can spare. In 2006, it gave … $57 million. They’re so busted financially that they’re forced to crawl to Palin, the scourge of the “establishment,” and ask her to do what she can to help get the tap turned back on. Given how deeply the disgust runs among grassroots conservatives for Steele’s antics and RNC embarrassments, I’m skeptical that even she can make a dent.

On the other hand, you don’t need much dough if your message is irresistible. “Fire Pelosi!” works for me.