He’s not saying it critically, mind you. Since when has Huck ever been critical of a rival, overtly or otherwise?

Huckabee had some interesting observations about Sarah Palin, a potential 2012 opponent, suggesting that she didn’t earn her spurs and was more appealing to the base of the party because she hadn’t been scrutinized in the primary.

“What John McCain did for her was to give her the capacity to sort of leapfrog over the process and get right to the center stage,” he said of the GOP’s vice presidential nominee.

Unlike those, he added, who had competed in the Republican primary.

“She didn’t have to get bloodied like us. Few people on that stage didn’t get bloodied.”

He did allow, though, that she did get bloodied — “but not by the people Republicans care about, you guys.”

Fearing that this lament might sound a tad resentful, he went on to stress that he was merely envious, nothing more. Oh, and he also reminded McCain that he blew the race by not opposing the bailout and probably would have lost the nomination to Huck himself if so many state primaries hadn’t been winner take all.

Exit admission: The only thing keeping me blogging through this long, long winter of conservative discontent is the dream of a Huck/Palin death match in 2011 to determine who the one true “Christian leader” is. Followed, of course, by 15 Kathleen Parker columns proclaiming the end of conservatism, and then 15 more describing the resulting hate mail. (Just kidding. She’ll have renounced the right long before then.)