It isn’t a real time machine. It’s just a tattered copy of the August 18, 2011, Newsweek, but it’s almost as good. What it did for me just this morning was take me back to those scary days when the race for delegates in the Republican Presidential nomination was poised to begin with the Iowa caucus, and who knew what it was going to come up with?
There was the Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, for instance. The Tea Party was riding high in those days, just before that test of strength that was the Iowa caucus, and Bachmann was something close to their poster politician for her take-no-prisoners rabble-rousing speeches. Newsweek gave Bachmann its front cover with the caption “The Queen of Rage” for an article that summarized her strengths. Strong Tea Party support. Strong religious favor for her born-again Christianity in a state loaded with evangelical Christians, and besides, she herself was a native Iowan. What then was she doing as a Congresswoman from Minnesota? Why, her husband’s career had taken him there, and as a good, God-fearing wife she had gone where her husband chose to go.
She looked to Newsweek like a strong contender But, the editors cautioned, she was up against some other strong contenders, like former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who was already in the race, and the even stronger opponent, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who seemed about to declare. Would one of those be our next President?
Not very likely. You see, that was then.
This is now, and six months have brought changes. Bachmann, Pawlenty, Perry. Mention any of those names in conversation these days. and the response you get is furrowed eyebrows and the question. “Who?” And so I return my Newsweek time machine to the recycle bin I pulled it out of.
How quickly things do change.