If he didn't get out now, he'd never forgive himself. He was fifty-five, but after nearly six years in office, fifty-five felt like seventy. He had become a cliché, a caricature of the burned-out politician. In the beginning -- before three terms in the Senate, and long before the title of Vice President had soured on him -- politics had meant something. Something pure, maybe. Something noble.
If he didn't get out now, he might not have the strength to try again. These days his hairline receded by the minute. A face that had for decades been his calling card, lately only revealed the rigors of this job. His once...