[2008.01.10] America’s election-Up in the air

America’s election-Up in the air

Jan 10th 2008
From The Economist print edition

America wants change; it just can’t work out what sort of change


IF A week is famously a long time in British politics, five days can be an eternity in America. On January 3rd Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton by roughly 17,000 votes, out of around 220,000 cast, in Iowa’s Democratic caucus at the start of the presidential nominating season. It was the vote that launched a thousand editorials: the charismatic young black senator was compared to Jack Kennedy, Martin Luther King and even Ronald Reagan. France’s Libération hailed the man who “will restore America’s image in the world”. The nomination, not to mention the presidency, seemed Mr Obama’s not by election but by global acclamation.
在英国政治中,如果说一周的时间就能够因为其旷日持久而变得著名;那么在美国,五天就已经可以说成是永恒了。1月3 日在衣阿华(Lowa)举行的民主党候选人选拔会议中,Obama在总数为220000张选票中以 17000张的优势在总统提名选季开端时刻击败了希拉里克林顿。此次投票结果引发了数千篇社论,将这个魅力十足的青年黑人议员与杰克肯尼迪、马丁路得金,甚至是里根相提并论。法国自由报以”有可能重新树立美国国际形象”的标题盛赞此人。抛开总统任职不提,Obama此次获得的竞选提名对他而言似乎意味着全球的赞赏。

On January 8th Mrs Clinton staged her comeback, winning in New Hampshire by an even tinier margin (some 7,500 votes), to the surprise of pollsters who had been predicting a trouncing for her. Now, suddenly, the talk is of the triumph of experience over hope, of the crushing power of the Clinton machine, of the next chapter in the remarkable story of the Comeback Kids. Meanwhile, the Republicans seem to be see-sawing even more dramatically—with the Bible-wielding Mike Huckabee winning Iowa (cue, a lot of guff about a fresh face and the power of the religious right) then John McCain winning New Hampshire (all hail now to experience and the virtue of independence) and Rudy Giuliani still ahead in the large states that vote on Super Tuesday on February 5th.
1月8日,希拉里克林顿在新罕布什尔州以更加微弱的优势上演了翻盘(大概领先7500张),这个结果大大出乎民意预测专家们的预料,之前他们预测希拉里会一败涂地。现在的话题突然之间变转换成经验压倒希望的胜利,克林顿机器的强大冲击力以及王者归来故事受人关注的下一个篇章。与此同时,共和党阵营中的你来我往则被演绎的更加具有戏剧性——亲宗教的Mick 在爱荷华取得胜利(这是一个新鲜面孔以及教权力量传闻的胜利)后John在新罕布什尔获胜(目前只有经验以及独立的美德才能赢得赞许)而 Rudy在2月5 日的超级周二大州投票中仍然处于优势。

From Obamamania to Obam…err
In fact, the only safe lesson to draw is that the battle for the White House is an extraordinarily fluid affair. Everything is up in the air. That is not just because this is the most open election in America since 1928 (the last time that no incumbent president or vice-president was in the race); it is because Americans don’t really know what they want. Sure, they are desperate for “change”: with the economy reeling, politics gridlocked, young people dying in Iraq and the Bush administration a global byword for callous incompetence, huge numbers of Americans have long believed their country is on the wrong track. But what sort of change? And who can deliver it?
白宫之争算得上一个极端多变的事件,这是实际上唯一可以得到经验。 所有的事情都处于悬而未决的状态,不仅仅因为这是美国自 1928年以来最公开的一次选举(1928年是最后一次没有现任总统及副总统参与的竞选);更因为美国人民都不真正了解自己需要什么。 诚然,他们对变革的渴望近乎绝望:经济衰退、政治僵局、伊战给年轻战士带来的死亡加上布什政府的僵硬无能成为全球的笑柄,为数众多的美国民众长久以来坚信他们的国家正处在一个错误的轨道上。但是他们需要的是一个怎样的变革,这个变革又因该由谁来推动呢?

It is a measure of how far Mr Obama has come that he is the person who has seemed closest (albeit only for a few days) to satisfying this need. More than Mrs Clinton’s, his appeal rests on an attractive optimism. He calls himself a “hope-monger”; he argues—not without reason—that change cannot come if the country is mired in the old “Bush-Clinton” partisan politics. And in many ways, a divided, grouchy America’s hopes do indeed seem to rest with Mr Obama—personable, consensus-seeking and capable of delivering oratory of some brilliance, in defeat as well as victory.
Obama看起来是最能胜任这个需要的人(虽然只有短短的几天时间),问题在于胜任到何种程度。比克林顿女士更具吸引力的是他引人注意的乐观精神。 他戏称自己为”希望商贩”;他有理由辨称如果这个国家还深陷在对”布什-克林顿”陈旧政治的推崇中,那么改变不可能来临。 无论胜利与否,一个分裂、不平的美国所需要的希望从各方面看起来的确依赖于Obama对大同的寻求、显现智慧的讲演以及优雅风度。

Yet the Democrats of New Hampshire were probably right to ask for a bit more (had Mr Obama won, he would surely have been unstoppable). Yes, an Obama presidency would close up two of America’s deepest wounds: as a black man, especially one who does not run as a black politician, he would draw the sting of race from its politics; as a young man, he would step beyond the poisonous legacy of the 1960s division Vietnam wrought between liberals and conservatives.
如果Obama获胜,那么他将是无人可挡的;所以新罕布什尔州的民主党人略微过分的要求似乎是正确的。Obama 的总统政权将要治愈美国两个最根深蒂固的硬伤:作为一个黑人,尤其是一个从未以政治家身份参与竞选的黑人,他将从竞选政治中得到激励;作为一个年轻人,他将超越六十年代越战时期自由主义者与保守主义者分裂遗毒的影响。

Other areas, though, have always looked knottier. Could Mr Obama, simply by dint of being black and having lived in Muslim Indonesia for six years as a boy, really change America’s international image so easily? He would get a hero’s welcome, of course—but the next president will get that whoever he or she is, simply for not being George Bush and not having made such a hash of Iraq. Thereafter, America will be judged on its actions, not its words. For instance, Mr Obama shows no particular sign of being able to reconcile the need to end the occupation of Iraq with the need to avoid the disaster that a power vacuum in the heart of the Middle East would cause. Tell us more, said many voters in New Hampshire: to that extent, they were right to deny him certain nomination.
其他方面看起来则一直错综复杂。作为一个黑人竞选者,Obama是否可以并且凭借儿时在印尼穆斯林长达6 年的生活而轻而易举的真正改变美国的国际形象?他当然可以获得英雄似的欢迎,但是下一任总统也会得到同样的待遇;无论是谁,只要不是乔治.布什、只要不如此为难伊拉克。 由此推断,对美国的评判是建立在行为上,而非宣言。 例如,没有任何特别的迹象表明Obama有能力在结束对伊拉克占领以及避免在中东心脏地区因出现政权真空而引发的灾难 这两个需求之间取得调解。 从这点来看,新罕布什尔州的选民在提名选举中拒绝他也是正确的。

Mrs Clinton, however, also has work to do—much more work than simply mentioning “change” a lot. New Hampshire, after all, is a bedrock of Clintonism: had she lost there, she would have been in dire straits in Nevada, which votes on January 19th, and especially in South Carolina, which votes on January 26th, and where around half the Democratic primary electorate is black. Super Tuesday, when 22 states are to vote, might have been her last stand. Now, after this political near-death, she is back where she started—in the lead. One has to hope, however, that she has learnt a few lessons.
克林顿女士同样有功课要做——比只是简单提提”变革”要多得多的功课。新罕布什尔毕竟是克林顿支持者的根基所在,如果她在这里被击败,那么1月 19日进行投票的内华达州对于她来说将成为恐怖海峡;特别是1月 26日举行投票的南加州,民主党在那里的初选达到了近一半的失败率,22个州进行投票的超级周二将会成为她的最后一战。 现在,经过这个政治濒临死亡的状态后,她又回到了她开始的地方——领先者的位置。 人们希望她无论如何也已经从中学到了一些东西。

These begin with the idea that it is not enough to exude competence and reel off endless policy proposals. She must learn poetry from Mr Obama, just as he needs to learn prose from her. She needs to listen to voters, not talk at them. Above all, she has to shed that sense of wounded entitlement that has bedevilled her campaign; she has to show that the Clintons are not yesterday’s people. Her problem is not just that Mr Obama could still catch her; she has reminded many Americans how divisive a politician she is. If she wins the primaries, it may be only because core Democratic groups (trade unions, the uneducated, the poor, the old) rallied to her side. And a nomination does not a president make.
这些希望起源于她单纯重复政治主张以及炫耀政治能力所体现出的乏力,她必须从Obama身上学到诗歌体的竞选方式,正如他要从她身上学习散文体的竞选方式一样。克林顿女士需要聆听选民得声音,而不是对他们进行宣讲。 掩藏破坏竞选之战的伤痛感觉对她来说才是最关键的,她必须向人们展示出,克林顿一家已经今非昔比。她所面临的问题不是Obama仍旧有可能赶上她,而是提醒众多的美国民众她是一个多么与众不同的政治家。 如果她在初选中取胜,原因可能只是因为民主党的核心集团(贸易联盟、老年人、贫困人群以及教育不充分人群)全都站到了她这边。 这样的提名没有总统相的。

Say what you think说出你的想法
The Republicans should be in much worse shape. They have a wider field (four possibles, if you include Mitt Romney, who finished second in both Iowa and New Hampshire). Whereas the Democrats are agonising about what sort of change they represent, the Republicans are the party of incumbency. On the face of it, they would be mad to ditch Mr McCain. A man who outdoes Mrs Clinton for experience and sometimes matches Mr Obama for charm, he has shown more political courage than either Democrat has yet displayed and he beats both of them in hypothetical “head to head” polls. Against this, the 71-year-old senator is a mercurial cove; and many of his boldest traits, such as his keenness for immigration reform, irritate his deeply dysfunctional party.
共和党方面似乎处于更加窘迫的境地,他们有更广阔的战场(四个可能的人选,如果包括MR,他在IOWA 和新罕布什尔均以第二结束了自己得竞选 )民主党正为他们所代表的这种变革而感到烦恼,而共和党则是执政党。 从这个表象看,他们会因为McCain的坠落而疯狂;在经验方面他超过了克林顿女士,在风度方面有时甚至可以与Obama媲美;他展现出的政治勇气超过了任何一个民主党人的表现,在假想的一对一投票中击败了所有的人。 这个71 岁的议员雄心不减,他许多大胆的尝试,例如对移民改革的热忱,给这个官能已经严重紊乱的政党注入了活力。

Yet there is a lesson for the other candidates in Mr McCain’s bravery. When voters don’t quite know their own minds, they turn to those who do: 2008 is a year for courage.
McCain的勇敢无畏给其他的竞选者上了一课,当选民对他们的想法不是很清晰的时候,他们倾向于那些果敢行动的人:2008 是属于勇气的一年。

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