He alluded to this himself in the clip that Ed posted earlier, but since he’s now being treated as some sort of cancer on the party for daring to say that O’Donnell’s a flawed candidate, let’s flesh out the facts a bit. If, as Jeri Thompson suggests, Rove has a double standard for tea-party women, why is he spending boatloads of cash to help someone who, until 48 hours ago, was the most famous woman tea-party candidate in America?

Sure, the fact that he hates Harry Reid is part of it. But what does that prove? Everyone hates Harry Reid.

A third-party group linked to Rove has been the most aggressive, highest-spending outside force behind Reid’s opponent, Sharron Angle, launching withering attacks that have helped keep the onetime long shot competitive against Reid…

Rove wrote in an e-mail to POLITICO that his efforts through Crossroads GPS and its sister group, American Crossroads, are not driven by his personal feelings toward the majority leader. And he declined to lay out his views of Reid, instead referring POLITICO to his new biography — which is none too kind to Reid…

In total, Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads — which was the brainchild of Rove and former Bush White House official Ed Gillespie — have spent $1.7 million in Nevada on ads slamming Reid, most notably on the economic stimulus. The group has earmarked an additional $10 million for Nevada and seven other states to bolster GOP voter turnout on Election Day…

Since leaving the White House, Rove has become a more public critic of Reid, including last year on Fox News, when he called Reid “pathetic and insulting” and a “weak leader” as the health care debate raged in the Senate.

Is $10 million for Republican candidates, some of them tea partiers, enough to earn basic civility from “true conservative” O’Donnell supporters? How about the fact that Rove was enough of a “true conservative” as recently as six weeks ago to guest host the Rush Limbaugh Show? It’s one thing to say, as Ed does, that his criticism of O’Donnell on Fox should have come before the primary, not after; I agree, but then I doubt that most of the people ripping him to shreds now are aggrieved about his timing rather than the fact that he criticized her at all. Question: If the grassroots righties in RINO-stomp mode are all about “sending a message” to establishment figures like Rove, replete with smears about his alleged sexism, why shouldn’t he send one back by pulling the plug on money for Angle? If people think he’s part of the problem rather than the solution, problem solved: No more money. Better yet, let’s have Sharron Angle weigh in on that at the next available opportunity. Does she welcome attack ads against her opponent that are funded by a sexist RINO Beltway insider? Purge him, Sharron!

Rove won’t pull the plug because he wants to win back the Senate — which, of course, is the real reason he’s down on a deep red candidate running in a deep blue state, not because he belongs to the “old boys’ club” or whatever. Speaking of which, read this Matt Lewis piece about the appearance of the “gender card” in conservative politics. You’ll see much more of it next year if, as most now expect, Palin runs for president. Sometimes the accusations will have merit and sometimes, like here, they won’t, and with every bad charge that card will get a little closer to being maxed out. One of the points that’s been lost in the past few days is what a spectacular failure the left’s incessant “race card” politics against tea partiers have been this year: They’ve been smearing grassroots conservatives left, right, and sideways in order to sour independents on the GOP, and yet judging from generic-ballot polling, indies just keep tuning them out. There’s a lesson in that. Use the “gender card” sparingly, and use it when it’s really warranted. It’s not warranted against Rove.