Bless Washington Monthly's Adele Stan for making this rather obvious point about political tactics:
Here’s my hope: that this rumor [about Medicare eligibility] is being floated in order to create enormous pushback from the left that would give Obama cover for rejecting it. Time to push.
Now it could be that the rumor is untrue, in which case the pushback is as inconsequential as the rumor. Nothing either lost or gained, although we are being treated--and, for paradox lovers, this is a real plus--to some folks so immersed in reflexively defending the Obama camp that they're rudely defying the express wishes of President Obama himself; which is to say, the president has repeatedly invited citizen participation into determining second-term directions, and yet now that citizens are participating (boy, are they ever), the aforementioned Obama loyalists are demanding that said citizens just shut the fuck up, sit back, and wait and see what emerges in official proposal form.
Now that's weird. Funny, but weird.
Or it may be that the rumor is true, or true enough, or close enough, or however one wishes to frame the abhorrent thing, in which case the pushback is both profoundly justified and politically indispensible--but only if the pushback is indeed "enormous." That's why Krugman reignited the Klein firestorm by urging, "If anyone in the White House is seriously thinking along these lines, please stop it right now." That was no Krugmanesque "fit," no frenzy, no hysteria and no tantrum. It was a hot, politically tactical and calculated grenade, which everyone who cares about America's social safety nets should be throwing under the "cliff's" negotiating table.