ROVE FACES RIGHT-WING HEAT FOR ACCIDENTALLY TELLING THE TRUTH…. Fox News campaign coverage is supposed to follow a certain script — the conservative Republican candidate deserves to win, without exception. Last night, Karl Rove forgot his lines and actually offered objective analysis.

Karl Rove and Sean Hannity duked it out tonight over Christine O’Donnell’s win in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, with Rove, surprisingly, calling some of O’Donnell’s remarks “nutty” and conceding that “this is not a race we’re going to be able to win.”

“This was about Mike Castle’s bad votes,” Rove said tonight on Fox News. “It does conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for.”

Rove pointed out that there have been a lot of questions about O’Donnell’s finances, and some of her allegations against Castle.

By any reasonable estimation, this assessment of O’Donnell was objectively fair and consistent with what any media professional scrutinizing the race would say.

The problem, of course, is that the right doesn’t want Karl Rove, a media professional, to play the role he’s paid to play. They want him to be a Republican advocate, regardless of circumstance or merit, using his media perch to cheerlead for the party’s candidates.

As a result, former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is calling on Rove to “buck up” because “it’s time for unity.” Soon after, the Family Research Council, D.C.’s most prominent religious-right group, sent around an item arguing that Rove “seems to have a personal vendetta against” O’Donnell. The headline on the FRC item read, “Stark Rove-ing Mad.”

Elsewhere, Michelle Malkin, Erick Erickson, Pat Buchanan, and Mark Levin, among others, all slammed Rove for his criticism of the Delaware primary winner.

As far as I can tell, no one’s actually gotten around to arguing that Rove’s comments were wrong, only that he shouldn’t have made them out loud.

So, will Rove be forced to apologize? It doesn’t seem consistent with his personality, but then again, he rarely faces this much heat from his right-wing friends.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.