I think Ann Althouse is on to something.
I do not think her speculations are outlandish in the least. The scenario she lays out fits perfectly with the Rahmbo/Axelrod strategy that ha been in play since Obama was elected in 2008.
Jane Harman recited not the talking points, but the opposite of talking points on Benghazi.
Look, I realize I can be accused of "conspiracy" thinking to suspect something and to speak as if I know what they're saying behind our back... but here's the kind of thing Harman's Area-51-Vince-Foster remark made me feel they are saying in private:
We need people to hear the word "Benghazi" as a buzzword of nuts. Somebody says "Benghazi" and the reflex reaction is "Oh, no, here we go again with the conspiracy theories." It should be like when somebody brings up Area 51 or Vince Foster was murdered. A normal person is like "Ugh! Leave me alone." That's the way "Benghazi" should feel. Somebody says "Benghazi" and all anybody thinks is "conspiracy nutcase." Nobody who wants to be considered mainstream in this election should be able to say "Benghazi" anymore. Case closed, and you've built in the respect for Hillary saying "What difference at this point does it make?" Everybody decent — if we get this idea across — will react to Benghazi with a Hillary-esque exasperated "What difference does it make?" If it makes a difference to you, you're crazy. This is a circus. You're a clown. A scary clown. Boo! Aliens! Benghazi! Vince Foster!
The central problem the newly empowered leftist faced was that the nation voted for "Change" but remained stubbornly center-right. Any astute strategist knew that much of the Obama agenda would die if it was debated on its merits; the public support was not there for a hard left-turn.
The brilliant but cynical response was to foreclose debate. Partly, this depended on the goodwill all new presidents have. In addition, the window of opportunity afforded by the economic meltdown was exploited. ("Never let a crisis go to waste"). Raw political power could be wielded ("You have to pass the bill to know what's in it")"
Those advantages were certain to evaporate with time. So the long-term strategy was simple: make conservatives and Republicans toxic in the public's mind so that centrists and low-information voters did not listen to the counter-arguments and did not want to be associated with anything conservative or Republican. That's the reason the White House focused so much attention on Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. It is no coincidence that the Tea Party was branded as racist from the first. It is the reason that Democrats and the White House treat all conservatives as "birthers".