I’m a little surprised Sarahcuda hasn’t gone after him for this. Too early, maybe?

Palin is the party’s rock star.

“Some of the people who had excoriated me and really been very dismissive of me for views that I had taken, and labeled me anything from a populist to an ignoramus — the same people have been very defensive [of] and laudatory to Sarah Palin,” Huckabee noted, adding that he’d invited her to appear on his weekly Fox show but “could never get any contact.”

“I’m glad she’s getting the props — I know I’m not nearly as attractive,” he said with a guileless grin.

If pressed on this, no doubt he’ll go into “aw shucks” mode and insist he was merely paying her a compliment, but this isn’t the first time he’s attributed Palin’s appeal to her looks. Remember this from last November?

Neither was he quite so unperturbed by the Palin pick: “I was scratching my head, saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute. She’s wonderful, but the only difference was she looks better in stilettos than I do, and she has better hair.’ It wasn’t so much a gender issue, but it was like they suddenly decided that everything they disliked about me was O.K. . . . She was given a pass by some of the very people who said I wasn’t prepared.”

He polls well with women and she polls badly, so from the standpoint of pure cynical self-interest, she could score an easy point on a potential rival by challenging his rhetoric as sexist here. Why doesn’t she? Is it because she doesn’t want to call attention to the fact that she and Huck are pretty similar, actually? Or is she thinking strategically, that if she runs and he doesn’t she’ll need his endorsement down the line? Her book tour does include a stop in Iowa

Don’t laugh at the idea that Huck might not run, either. Does this sound like a guy who’s trying to make friends ahead of 2012?

But some attitudes don’t change. Huckabee met in the spring with Pat Toomey, then the president of the Wall Street-backed Club for Growth, which had attacked him during the 2008 campaign for raising taxes in Arkansas.

“It wasn’t very productive,” he said of the meeting. “I realized then that these guys are just what I thought they were — they’re pay for play, and they do it anonymously on behalf of people who don’t want to be known as the funders of these hit operations. I find that repulsive.”

Given that fiscal conservatives are the people Huck will have to win over to beat Romney, TNR calls this knock on CfG “the functional equivalent of Mitt Romney trashing evangelicals.” Exit question: Is Huck running or not?