Indiana McCain rides again
May 22nd 2008
From The Economist print edition
The Republican cannot dismiss the question of his age with a few jokes
JOHN McCAIN is a master of jesting about his advanced years. He says people only turn up to watch him to see if he needs a “drool cup”. He amusingly called a young voter who asked about his age a “little jerk”. On May 17th he appeared on “Saturday Night Live” to claim that “I have the courage, the wisdom, the experience and, most importantly, the oldness necessary.”
在拿自己的高龄开玩笑方面，约翰麦凯恩算得上一位行家里手。他说人们来看他只是想瞧瞧他是否需要一只 “口水杯’’ .他将一位询问他年龄的青年选民戏称为“小傻瓜”。5月17号，在 <<周六夜现场>>做节目时，他声称：“我拥有所必需的胆识，智慧，经验，更重要的是，我的岁数够大。”
But the question of Mr McCain’s age is no laughing matter. Mr McCain turns 72 on August 29th—a day after the Democratic convention ends and three days before the Republican one begins. If he wins in November, he will be the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president. He faces a Democratic opponent who, at 46, is his junior by a quarter of a century.
Almost 30% of Americans tell pollsters that America is not ready to put a septuagenarian into the White House. The word that people most associate with Mr McCain is “old”. You can be sure that the Democrats will do their utmost to keep it that way. Jack Murtha (75) has proclaimed that the presidency is “no old man’s job”. There is a website devoted to things that are younger than Mr McCain (the Golden Gate Bridge, plutonium, Coke-in-a-can, Velcro, 91% of Americans).
几乎有 三成美国民众告诉民调机构美国还没有准备好让一位70好几的老人入主白宫。一提到麦凯恩人们首先想到的一个词就是“年事已高”。你可以确定民主党人会不遗 余力的让人们保持此种看法。75岁的Jack Murtha 已经宣称总统这差事可不是老年人能干得了的。有一个网站专门列举那些比麦凯恩年轻的事物，如金门大桥，钚，易拉罐装可乐，维可牢，还包括91%的美国人。
Mr McCain’s age will ensure that one of the central debates in the election will be whether the Arizonan is the new Bob Dole or the new Ronald Reagan. The Obama camp is busy branding him as a Dole—a great man and a war hero, to be sure, but not the right person to lead the country into a bright new tomorrow. The two men do have a remarkable amount in common—from age (Dole was 72 when he ran) to war wounds, from a lengthy Senate career to a dark sense of humour. The McCain camp is equally busy painting Mr McCain as a Reagan—a figure with the strength of character and clarity of vision to get the big issues right. Again the two have a lot in common. Mr McCain is an adoptive Westerner who was inspired to go into politics by the Gipper.
麦凯恩的年龄将会确保在大选时一个中心辩 论议题就是这位亚利桑那州人到底是另一位鲍勃多尔还是另一位罗纳德里根。奥巴马阵营现在正忙着给他贴上多尔的标签：没错，是个了不起的人物，也称得上是一 位战斗英雄，但是并不是一位能够引领这个国家迈向充满光明之未来的恰当人选。这两人的确有太多的相似之处：不管是年龄（当多尔竞选时也已经72岁了）还是 身上的累累战伤，不管是漫长的参议院生涯还是身上那种黑色幽默感。麦凯恩阵营同样在忙着将其塑造成一位里根式的人物：具有坚强的意志，清晰的远见，能将大 事办好。这两人也有许多共同点。麦凯恩早年移居西部，正是在里根的启迪下步入政坛。（译者注：the Gipper是里根的绰号）
Mr McCain has more than just humour on his side. He can point to his performance on the campaign trail—a gruelling test of fitness. Candidate McCain is a whirlwind of activity that leaves younger reporters shattered. He takes unfiltered questions at endless town hall meetings. He fills gaps in his timetable with interviews, not naps. He is fun to be with—verbally sharp and mentally agile. And he has kept up this pace for years: he put in 346 appearances for Republican candidates and causes in the two years running up to the mid-term elections in 2006.
麦凯恩赖以凭借的不仅仅是他的幽默感。他可以指出他竞选活动一路来的表现，这可是对体能严苛的考验啊。 候选人麦凯恩旋风式的竞选活动让许多年轻的记者疲惫不堪。他在无休止的市政厅集会上接受各种未经筛选的问题。日程安排上一有空隙，他就会接受采访，而不是 打个盹，小憩一下。他言辞敏锐，头脑灵活，与其相伴，真是其乐融融。而且数年来他一直保持着这样的节奏：在2006年中期选举预备期的两年间他为共和党候 选人以及种种事务出场高达346次。
Mr McCain can also point to a fair few other aged world leaders. Winston Churchill was 76 when he became prime minister for the last time. Charles de Gaulle held office until he was 78, Konrad Adenauer until he was 87. Nelson Mandela was 75 when he became president of South Africa. And then, of course, there was Mr Reagan. But these comparisons are risky. Churchill was a walking textbook of pathology in his last term. A stroke in 1953 incapacitated him so severely that his doctor, Lord Moran, wrote that he “will never again be the same man—he is really living on a volcano”. In his second term Reagan was frequently detached from day-to-day business and displayed some symptoms of Alzheimer’s. And ageing leaders tend to bring out the worst in their entourages. Advisers spend their time covering up their boss’s frailties and jockeying for influence.
麦凯恩 还可以指出有好几位世界级的领导人岁数也很大。温斯顿丘吉尔最后一次担任首相时已经76岁了。查尔斯戴高乐直到78岁时才卸任。康抗德阿登纳（译者注：此 君是联邦德国前总理）下台的时候已经87岁了。纳尔逊曼德拉在75岁时才成为南非总统。当然还有位里根总统。然而做这些比较是有风险的。丘吉尔在其最后一 个任期内简直成了一本病理学活生生的教科书。1953年的一次中风对他的伤害如此之大，以致他的医生这样写道：他再也不是过去那位丘吉尔了，此刻的他实际 上正处于火山之上。里根在第二个任期内基本上不参与日常事务，而且不时显示出早老性痴呆病的症状。岁数大的领导人往往会让他的随从们显露出其最恶劣的一 面。各类顾问们整日忙着掩盖他们老板的病情，而且还不择手段地为自身谋求影响力。
There is a reason why society expects people to spend their golden years playing golf or touring the country in giant recreational vehicles. Some people age better than others, of course: the 65-year-old Harrison Ford looks sprightly enough in the new Indiana Jones film. But eventually the mind slows, the arteries clog, the ability to deal with new challenges dulls. The announcement this week that Edward Kennedy (76) is suffering from brain cancer is a reminder of life’s most basic truth. Is America really confident enough in Mr McCain’s vitality to give him the most demanding job in the world? Not too many companies would even consider a man of his age for the CEO slot.
社会上都认为老年人就应该打打高尔夫，或者坐乘巨型游艺车周游全国来打发 其流金岁月，这是有道理的。当然有些人要比别人老当益壮得多。比如说在最新的印第安纳琼斯电影中，65岁的哈里斯福特看起来身手依然那么敏捷。但是最终头 脑会变得迟钝，动脉会阻塞，处理各种新挑战的能力也会减弱。本周76岁的爱德华兹肯尼迪患上脑癌的消息提醒着人们这一生命中最基本的事实。美国真的如此相 信麦凯恩充沛的精力而给予他这份世界上要求最苛刻的职位? 甚至并没有太多的公司愿意考虑让像他那个岁数的人担任首席执行官。
Mr McCain has hardly had an easy life. He suffered extensive injuries when he was shot down over North Vietnam—a broken knee, a broken shoulder and two broken arms that his captors refused to set. He was kept in a gruesome prison, and intermittently tortured, for five-and-a-half years. In 2000 doctors discovered that he was suffering from second-stage melanoma—an invasive form of skin cancer that, within a decade, claims the lives of about a third of people who are diagnosed with it. He smothers himself with sunscreen when he ventures out into moderate sunlight.
麦凯恩这辈子过得并不轻松。当他在北越上空被击中落地时，浑身伤痕累累：一个膝盖断裂，一个肩膀和两只 胳膊也已骨折，捕获他的那些人拒绝为其校正。他被关押在一间令人毛骨悚然的监狱里，受尽折磨，这一关就是五年半。2000年医生们发现麦凯恩的黑素瘤已发 展到第二阶段，这是一种扩散性的皮肤癌，诊断出患有此疾的人有三分之一在十年内都会丧命。在阳光温和的日子里他要出门的话，浑身都要抹上防晒油。
Mr McCain’s age makes his choice of running-mate particularly important. He needs to choose a vice-president who will make a credible replacement rather than a partisan who can rally the base or merely deliver a useful state. Several governors—Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota (47), Charlie Crist of Florida (51) and perhaps Mitt Romney (61), the ex-governor of Massachusetts—might possess the necessary executive experience. Old-time Reaganites point out that the issue of Reagan’s age evaporated when he chose a safe pair of hands in the form of George Bush senior as his running mate.
麦凯恩的年龄使得他竞选搭档的人选显得特别重要。他需要选一位可以成为其 可靠替代者的副总统，而不是一位能振奋基层支持者斗志抑或仅仅能帮助在一个有用的州取得胜利的党派分子。有几位州长，包括明尼苏达州的Tim Pawlenty(47岁)，佛罗里达州的Charlie Crist(51岁)，或许还包括马萨诸塞州前州长米特•罗姆尼(61岁)，或许都具有必要的行政经验。昔日的里根拥趸们指出当他选了老布什这位令人放心 的帮手作为其竞选搭档之后，里根的年龄问题便随之烟消云散了。
Mr McCain needs to be relentlessly open about his health (he was preparing to release detailed health records as The Economist went to press). He might also consider a radical gambit—pledging to run for only one term in office. Mr McCain worries that this would turn him into an instant lame duck—“quacking on inauguration day”. Still, such a pledge would free him to put the national interest above electoral considerations. It would allow him to burnish his greatest selling point—his reputation as a ferocious reformer who is willing to take on any and every vested interest. It’s a risk. But it might put a positive spin on his greatest weakness.
麦 凯恩需要持续不断的公开其健康状况(在《经济学人》截稿时，他正准备公布其详尽的健康记录)。他或许也会考虑豪赌一番，即做出只竞选一届任期的许诺。麦凯 恩担心这样做会使自己立马变成一只跛脚鸭，“在就职之日就发出嘎嘎声”。然而，这番许诺会让其从对竞选的考虑之中解放出来，从而让他以国家利益为重。这会 让他凸显其最大的卖点，即他这个勇猛的改革者敢与所有既得利益作斗争的声誉。这是有风险。但是这或许会使麦凯恩最大的弱点显露出积极的一面。
译者注：《印第安纳琼斯》是一部著名的电影，由美国著名导演斯皮尔伯格执导，又名《夺宝奇兵》, 印第安纳琼斯博士是一所大学的考古学教授, 充满智慧，身手不凡。本文将麦凯恩比作印第安纳琼斯，原因自不待言。