It is a sign of the times when Obama engages in a great deal of effort to get a treaty ratified, one where the entire Foreign Policy establishment supports, and it is seen as a big gamble. Obama was not only able to get past SecDefs and SecStates from both parties, but he got Bush Sr and NATO's European members to support the bill. As Fred Kaplan argued, this was pure politics--that the Republicans had no real gripes about it but were seeking to defeat an "Obama" effort. It revealed that the GOP leadership (Kyl and McConnell) had lost their minds over this and, as a result, lost some credibility. Obama realized he could not work with Kyl who kept changing the goalposts while the kicker was on the field (reminds me of some people I know), and Obama's team was able to work around Kyl/McConnell. I am not going to say that they were emasculated by this effort, but they sure have less influence today than last week.
Things will only get harder with the new Senate and House, but Obama is learning how to divide the GOP and win when he tries really hard. He is also learning that his Senate majority leader can be as much a hindrance as a help, antagonizing voters on the treaty with DADT. Well, we ended up with both, so it is good news now And now, Obama is seen as being effective. What a way to close out the year!