*Just weeks removed from his midterm “shellacking,” President Obama is heading into the holiday break with remarkable victories on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, START, and the 9/11 bill. Even GOP strategists are grudgingly giving him some credit, as The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove reports:

It was, by any definition, a triumphant day for President Obama-and a warning to his adversaries that reports of his political demise are greatly exaggerated.

As the president celebrated an early Christmas and prepared to fly off to Hawaii on Wednesday, several Republican strategists, including those likely to be professionally engaged in the 2012 campaign, were giving the devil his due.

“I think it would be very foolish to write President Obama off,” Republican media guru Mike Murphy emailed me in one of the grudging bouquets that arrived from across the aisle. “The GOP now has a great shot in 2012, but 23 months is a very long time in politics. President Obama is showing an impressive new ruthlessness with his liberal base that, combined with an economic recovery, will augur well for him in a national election.”

Obama’s remarkable day, only six weeks after disastrous midterm elections in which Republicans captured the House and increased their strength in the Senate, began when he presided over an emotional signing ceremony for the repeal of the Clinton-era Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy that excluded openly gay men and women from military service. Then the once-recalcitrant Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the Russians, and the House and Senate passed long-delayed health-care benefits for 9/11 first responders.

It was, for Obama, a Christmas week trifecta.

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