There was nothing in the Huckabee interview to inspire any get-me-rewrite frenzy among the reporters. But his morning-after-the-election comments do convey the minefield that social conservative politicians (and putative 2012 candidates) have to negotiate in dealing with the GOP’s angry, tempest-in-a-teabag right flank. Asked about the vicious Republican divisions in Tuesday’s upstate New York House election (23rd Congressional District) won by the Democrats, Huckabee said, “Politics is not theology. In theology, things are pretty clear – left, right, up, down, black, white, heaven, hell. It’s real simple stuff. Politics is not as pure. It never has been. It never will be.” The problem, Huckabee concedes, is that Republican purists want a litmus test party as they say, in effect, “It has to be just like me – and nothing but.”

Unlike Palin, who endorsed on Facebook the losing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York’s 23rd district, Huckabee stayed on the sidelines without even a single tweet. He was troubled by Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava’s liberal views on social issues (pro-abortion rights and gay marriage), but he was not willing to join Hoffman’s third party uprising that drove Scozzafava from the race. “I feel sorry for people like Newt Gingrich, who was just excoriated over his support for Dede,” Huckabee said, casting his lot with the practical politicians. As for Palin, whose neon-lit celebrity appears to irk Huckabee, he sniffed, “She apparently did not have a big impact on the ultimate outcome.”