First he went off half-cocked. Nothing in professional feminist activist Sandra Fluke's testimony about the need for $1000 worth of birth control annually was in the first person. Indeed, her ludicrous overestimate of the cost indicates the sort of utter lack of experience with birth control one would expect from a nun, a virgin or someone who never interacts with men, if you catch my drift.
Second, Limbaugh's income depends on his advertisers not his audience. His audience might have been with him (in fact I'm sure they were) but his advertisers aren't his audience.
Third, he picked the wrong battle. Birth control is a settled issue in the United States and has been for close to fifty years. Hell, one of the key virtues of Protestantism is its relatively tolerant position on birth control, and the United States is still a predominantly Protestant nation. The fact that the underlying issue was mandating insurance coverage of birth control was beside the point. Limbaugh didn't mock mandates, he mocked recreational sex.
Fourth, the higher up you go in the United States the more support for birth control and all other aspects of the sexual revolution there is. If Rush had said something outrageous in defense of lower taxes he could have counted on some support from the one percent in the advertiser's boardrooms. No so in this case.
Fifth, Limbaugh's message control depended on a mass media monopoly that no longer exists. In the bad old days Rush, by carefully screening callers, cutting off anyone who went off message, and being under the radar of his critics who rarely listened to his program (Al Franken's otherwise tedious book on Rush opens hilariously with Franken barely able to endure Rush's long winded self promotion of his stupid neckties) could run his show as he pleased with very little pushback. Only when he ventured into a medium like television, where he wasn't as skilled or where he wasn't the producer (Monday Night Football) did he suffer major humiliations.
The internet has changed all that. Now pushback comes from the teeming masses of grassroots Rush haters who, collectively, can monitor his every word and, via twitter and other social networking tools, instantly propagate any slip into a major scandal. They only needed that first mistake, the poorly thought out theory that Sandra Fluke is a slut, to trigger the avalanche.
Rush fought the new media and the new media won.
He isn't the first and he won't be the last.
So, just what's in those Obama Harvard videos?