I doubt Howard will benefit from Cheney's visit. Cheney's praise for Australia's efforts sounds simply desparate; the thanks you offer a friend who you know is only on your team 'cause they weren't picked by the other side (and who you suspect might be about to fake an injury...). Worse still, the decision to send an additional 70 troops has been overshadowed by the reduction in the UK forces and crumbling of the Coalition of the Willing.
The real interest is in watching how Rudd plays his part. He's clearly not going to concede foreign policy to the Government and he has good reason to feel like he has Howard's measure - not least of all because he has overtaken Howard as preferred PM. I particularly like this comment from Polemica:
"Intelligent people have long since made up their mind on Iraq and the valour of the current United States administration. If you haven’t yet decided the war in Iraq was wrong-headed and morally reprehensible in consequence, you are not likely to. What is important now is whether or not the alternative government in this country can successfully impress itself upon the electorate as retrospective salve to the mistakes made by the conservatives."