At this point in a two-term presidency, the vice president is usually tromping across New Hampshire and Iowa, having kicked off his campaign for a promotion.
Not so for Dick Cheney.
One would expect him to lose some political relevance by now. And at least two of Cheney's senior allies, Donald Rumsfeld and John Bolton, are gone.
The Libby CIA leak trial has exposed Cheney as a shrewd protector of his own image at any cost.
Are these new and difficult times for the vice president? He doesn't seem to think so. He's been operating as always: trying to drive foreign policy, insisting that things in Iraq are going well and bashing White House critics.