What The GOP Won While Losing
by Patrick Appel
From Jonathan Bernstein's START postmortem:
Republicans did accomplish something by fighting on New START. They chewed up quite a few hours of Senate floor time, a very valuable commodity in the lame duck session, and really throughout the 111th Congress. Now, there's really no way of knowing what exactly they gained by doing that. However, had they agreed to a quick vote on the treaty, there would have been more time for the Democrats to confirm judges and executive branch appointments; more time for appropriations bills, and perhaps to give a more sustained effort on the omnibus appropriations bill; and more time for any of the other unfinished business on the Democratic agenda.
So I wouldn't be quick to conclude that it was a mistake for Republicans to fight this one out, even if they took a (very minor) PR hit in losing.