Remember how well that war on Rush Limbaugh worked out for the White House in 2009?  Well, it’s just as successful in 2012.  Politico’s Dylan Byers reports that Obama campaign guru David Axelrod has been hoist with his own outrageous-outrage petard, and now has to cancel an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show thanks to the blowback:

David Axelrod will not be appearing as a guest on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” despite reports last week that he was scheduled to do the show in the next few weeks.

“He’s not scheduled to go on at this time,” said Ben LaBolt, the press secretary for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

Maher, who donated $1 million to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA, has increasingly become a target of right-wing attacks over the last week in response to the left’s attacks on Rush Limbaugh. Maher has come under fire for calling Sarah Palin a “c**t” during his stand-up act and a “dumb tw**t” on his HBO show, among other sexist comments.

Axelrod has been out front on this war on Limbaugh, but the backfire has been … hilarious.  Not only has the attempt to demonize Limbaugh exposed the Left’s own hypocrisy, the effort to hit Limbaugh’s pockets has been a big flop, too.  Now Republicans have made Bill Maher the poster child of the Democratic Party and of Obama’s re-election campaign, thanks to their refusal to return $1 million Maher donated to Obama’s super-PAC — which amounts to half of what the super-PAC has managed to raise:

Democrats have been gaining traction describing controversial conservative talker Rush Limbaugh as the de facto leader of the Republican party. But looking at the February fundraising report from the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA, Republicans may have a legitimate case to describe “Real Time” host Bill Maher as significant a player for the president’s re-election campaign – at least financially.

Republicans have been trying to make Maher as a liberal poster boy to counter the Limbaugh attacks. It hasn’t really stuck. But since he (very publicly) donated $1 million to Priorities USA, the GOP has some fresh ammunition. Maher’s donation was about half of the $2 million that the super PAC raised in the month of February – a total that speaks as much about the group’s limp fundraising as Maher’s influence within the party.

Small wonder that Axelrod now wants to bail on Obama’s biggest benefactor, but that won’t be enough.  Meanwhile, the Second White House War on Limbaugh has probably had the same effect on his audience that the First White House War on Limbaugh had, according to a leading industry analyst:

There has been no measure of his listenership since the Fluke flap. But nonpartisan radio expert Michael Harrison told The Daily Caller that Limbaugh’s numbers likely are going no where but up — despite the anti-Limbaugh push.

Harrison is founder and publisher of Talkers magazine, the industry’s leading trade journal.

According to Harrison, even if all the publicity is negative, it is a “good bet that Rush is enjoying pretty high ratings” last week and going into this week.

“The irony is that he probably right now has the biggest audience he’s had in years, and the double irony of all this is sponsors that are fleeing, they’re missing out on the best advertising buy in radio,” Harrison told TheDC in an interview, explaining that Limbaugh incites passion on all fronts.

Limbaugh’s fans, said Harrison, will galvanize around him, not abandon him. Many of his detractors are listening because they feel vindicated, he explained, and still others are tuning in to hear what the fuss is about.

And while Axelrod and Team Obama try to set speed records distancing themselves from Bill Maher, they may have bigger problems with Al Sharpton.  Over to you, John Nolte:

The left has started a war against Rush Limbaugh — a war it cannot win. Limbaugh said something for which he later apologized, and rather than accept that apology, the left and its media allies decided to exploit the situation, turning it into a crusade to take an opposing voice off the air.

Even the White House has jumped on this neo-fascist bandwagon. Not the Obama campaign. The White House. The People’s House. …

Using MSNBC’s own standards, should the man who once said the following be allowed to hold a primetime MSNBC slot?

White folks was in the cave when we were building empires. We learned to admire them, but they knew to admire us. We built pyramids without a ____, ____ new architecture ____. We talked philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.

Pass the popcorn!

Update: Tom Maguire catches the New York Times not covering news … again.