I think Obama is making a big mistake if he signs onto to things like raising the Medicare eligibility age. This Kthug piece may be a little emo for some of you, but I think he gets this right:
A further point: even if Obama really does cut spending, will anyone notice? Even people who are supposedly well informed believe that there was a vast expansion of government under Obama, when in fact there wasn’t. So we’re supposed to believe that independent voters will actually be able to cut through the fog — the deliberate fog of Fox, the he-said-she-said of most other media organizations — and give him credit for spending cuts? Remember, whatever he does Republicans will claim that the government is getting bigger — and news organization will report only that “Democrats say” that this isn’t true.
I don’t think a president can completely ignore the Village — they still have some sway — but on this one, the flyover country reaction has to trump everything else. People don’t want their Medicare taken away, or even delayed. It’s that simple.
Update. Jon Cohn says the deal Obama was offering did include some form of stimulus, which would change my estimation of it.