The “Palin advisor” in question being John Coale, husband of — ta da — Greta Van Susteren, the ‘Cuda’s media megaphone of choice. The basic idea ain’t half bad: Coale’s a PUMA turned Sarah fan (we blogged about him during the campaign) who’s known the Clintons for years and thought it would help Palin’s image to make her chummy with Hillary. Once she received a benediction from the left’s new feminist pope, he doubtless figured, it’d be that much harder for the media to attack her as a right-wing nut or less than fully authentic woman. Hence the idea of a goodwill gesture via SarahPAC, in which money donated to Palin by thousands of rock-ribbed Republicans would suddenly be redirected to … Hillary Clinton?

[Palin] expressed concern to aides about Coale’s request that weekend and a few days later directed Meg Stapleton, an Alaska-based campaign aide, to tell Coale that she would not help retire Clinton’s debt.

“While we appreciate your efforts and recognize that a friendship with the Clintons is appropriate, the governor believes (and I concur) that using SarahPAC to pay down Hillary’s debt is not a prudent use of the money,” Stapleton wrote to Coale in a Feb. 17 e-mail, a few days after he made his pitch to the governor. “Contributors who chose between heating their homes and sending in a contribution because they believe in Sarah would be crushed.”…

“He thought the Clintons could rein in some of the Democratic firepower aimed at her,” said a dumbfounded Republican privy to the discussion who advocated fiercely against the idea…

Coale conceded that he urged Palin and her advisers to consider helping Clinton, but he said it was part of a larger campaign to align the Alaska governor with prominent women in politics, including Republicans Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, both of whom are prospects for elective office in California.

Again, a good idea in theory. It’s women voters with whom Palin has the most trouble, not men; assuming Whitman and Fiorina want her help, she should make herself fully available to fundraise for them. The problem was the idea of using conservative donations for outreach to the left, a betrayal not even Maverick has stooped to (I think). Palin could have made a donation to Hillary out of her own bank account, of course, but that presents a problem too. How do you convince grassroots Republicans to donate to your legal defense fund because you’re in dire financial straits while you’re cutting thousand-dollar checks to Hillary Clinton?

Believe it or not, the most important part of this story isn’t the Hillary scoop but the stuff near the end about how desperately Sarahcuda needs help managing her new national profile. This is what I meant the other day when I said it bodes ill that so many party insiders seem to have given up on her; some of you sneered at me for that but it helps to have practiced hands on your team who know how to deal with this sort of thing. What happened to Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol and all the other GOP bigwigs whom she charmed before she was named VP? No help for Sarah from Alaska now when she needs it?