For Democrats, it’s easy to see what victory means: getting Republicans to raise taxes on the rich. For Republicans, it’s less dramatic. The outer edge of what they could get from Obama would be an increase in the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 — maybe with some expanded means-testing of Medicare premiums for the wealthy. (There’s already some of that in Obama’s own health care reform law and in the 2003 law that created the Medicare prescription drug program.)…

“You wanted steak, and you ended up with reheated hamburger,” Holtz-Eakin added.

So what’s the best thing to do with reheated hamburger? Prepare your base by lowering the expectations.

Republican leaders are insisting — loudly — that Obama just doesn’t want to do anything on entitlements. House Speaker John Boehner charged Friday that even if the GOP caved on tax rates, “we would continue to see trillion-dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see.” It’s Obama’s turn, Boehner said, to make a counteroffer…

All of which sets the stage for just about any entitlement cuts to look like a win — even if it falls way short of the GOP’s past ambitions.