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[2009.3.26]Barack Obama's progress巴拉克·奥巴马的进展

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发表于 2010-3-18 02:09 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Barack Obama's progress
巴拉克·奥巴马的进展
Coming down to earth
开始脚踏实地

Mar 26th 2009
From The Economist print edition
The president has had a bumpy ride in his first two months
总统颠簸动荡的头两月



TWO months after his inauguration, Barack Obama can already point to some impressive achievements. He has passed a $787 billion stimulus bill—the biggest in American history—and outlined an ambitious agenda for reforming health care and education, tackling entitlements and pushing “green” energy. He has also delighted his admirers at home and abroad by beginning to reverse George Bush’s policies on such controversial subjects as talking to Iran, global warming, the treatment of enemy combatants and stem-cell research.

就职典礼之后的两个月里,Barack Obama以及取得了一些令人钦佩的成就。他通过了美国历史上最大的7870亿美元的刺激法案,推出了改革健康保险和教育的野心勃勃的日程,阻止了高额津贴并大力推动“绿色”能源。他也因开始扭转乔治布什在例如与伊朗进行对话,全球变暖,处理“敌方战斗人员”以及干细胞研究等方面充满争议的政策,而取悦了国内国外的崇拜者们。

Unfortunately, Mr Obama’s critics can also point to a striking record of failures. A startling number of his nominees for senior positions have imploded. The upper ranks of the Treasury remain empty in the midst of the most serious recession since the 1930s. Warren Buffett, an early Obama-supporter and a man legendary for holding on to stocks that he has backed, thinks that the president is taking his eye off the ball. Andy Grove, a former head of Intel, describes the administration’s performance as “ineffectual”. Even the commentariat, which swooned over Mr Obama’s campaign, is running out of patience.

但不幸的是,对奥巴马的批评同样也可以指出创纪录的一串失败。他所提名的高级官员被否决的数目令人震惊。在1930年代以来最为严重的危机当中,财政部的一些高管职位仍然空缺。一位奥巴马先前的支持者同时也是因持有他所看好股票的传奇人物,沃伦?巴菲特认为总统有些找不到重点。Intel公司的前总裁安迪?葛洛夫(Andy Grove),则把政府的表现描述为“无效率的”。甚至那些在奥巴马竞选期间疯狂迷恋他的博客评论者们也纷纷失去耐心。

Many of Mr Obama’s achievements have a Potemkin quality. He signed a $410 billion spending bill that contains 8,570 earmarks (directing funds to specific projects), despite his pledge to reduce the practice. His budget rests on unrealistic assumptions about America’s future economic growth and about the cost of his spending programmes. He throws out numbers like confetti: Peter Orszag, his usually impressive budget director, made a dismal job of explaining to Congress where Mr Obama intended to find the $634 billion “down payment” he promised for health-care reform.

奥巴马的许多成就不过是徒有其表而已。他签署了一份4100亿美元的预算却包含了8670项“猪肉桶”拨款 (直接拨向特定项目),而他曾经信誓旦旦的宣称要减少这一现象。他的预算是建立在美国未来经济增长以及他的开支计划成本控制这些不现实的假设上。他也确实抛出了一些“糖果”:Peter Orszag这位经常能有神来之笔的预算主管,向国会令人沮丧的解释奥巴马打算获得的6340亿美元的拨款,不过是他所允诺的医保改革的“定金”。

Mr Obama’s erratic performance is partly the result of the rollercoaster world he finds himself in. Few presidents have come to power with as much political capital. Mr Obama beat John McCain by seven points. His party has majorities of 39 seats in the House of Representatives and ten in the Senate. The administration can also draw on the brainpower and political muscle of a powerful network of liberal think-tanks and pressure-groups that were formed during the Bush years. But this understates his strength. His election represented a turning point in America’s bitter racial history. It also possibly coincided with the end of a conservative era that began with Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.

奥巴马蹩脚的表现部分的源于他发现自己所处环境的残酷。很少能有总统就任时像他那样带着这么多的政治资本。奥巴马以7个点的优势击败了约翰?麦肯。他的党派在众议院拥有39席的多数并在参议院拥有10个议席的多数优势。他的政府也同样可以获得来自在布什执政时期形成的,强有力的自由派智库和压力集团网络的智力支撑和政治支持。但是这些有利因素掩盖了他的实力。他的竞选代表了美国痛苦的种族歧视历史的转捩点。同时也可能和罗纳德?里根所自1980年代开启的保守主义纪元的终结是一种巧合。

At the same time Mr Obama confronts an unusually difficult set of challenges. America is in the grip of a recession that is crushing jobs and reducing demand at an alarming rate. Some of America’s most famous financial institutions have collapsed. General Motors is on the verge of collapse. The unemployment rate, which is already 8.1%, could hit double figures. The American political system is arguably more dysfunctional than ever, with the parties heavily polarised and the 24-hour-news cycle magnifying bad news.

与此同时,奥巴马面对的是一系列艰难成都非比寻常的挑战。美国正蹒跚于一场速度惊人的碾碎就业机会并降低需求的危机当中。一些美国最富盛名的金融机构倒下了。通用汽车正处于崩溃的边缘。失业率已经达到了8.1%,而且可能达到两位数。24小时不间断新闻将坏消息的放大和日益尖锐的党派对立,使得美国的政治体系比以往任何时候都要失调。

All this means that Mr Obama’s first two months in office are difficult to evaluate. But a few things seem pretty clear. This is a strikingly ambitious president: he wants to be “transformative” in more than just the sense of being the first black president. But so far his presidency has been vitiated by a combination of incompetence and a willingness to fall back on the very tactics that he denounced as a candidate. Indeed, his desire to be “transformative” may be contributing to his problems, distracting him from the economic crisis.

这些都意味着难以对奥巴马上任的头两个月进行评价。但是一些事情看来非常明朗了。这是一个雄心勃勃得惊人的总统:他想“变革”的不仅仅是第一位黑人总统意义本身。但到目前为止,他的总统任期已经被那些回到完全是他作为候选人时所谴责的旧路的想法和无能所玷污。实际上,他对“变革”的渴望有可能加剧这些问题,并分散他对经济危机处理。

The pragmatic liberal
务实的自由派

Mr Obama has already outlined the most ambitious agenda for transforming America since the Reagan revolution: proposing universal health care, expanding the role of the federal government in education, tackling global warming and reducing America’s growing inequalities. This has ignited a fierce debate about his ideology. Is he an unreconstructed liberal who will provide the left’s answer to Ronald Reagan? Or is he a New Democrat, as he himself claims? The answer is probably a mixture of the two. Mr Obama is a pragmatic liberal, more confident about big government than Bill Clinton’s New Democrats, but less wedded to liberal solutions than many of the old lions in his party.

奥巴马已经提出了自里根革命以来最为野心勃勃的变革美国的日程:提出全民医保,扩展联邦政府在教育领域的作用,解决全球变暖并减缓美国正日益加剧的收入不均。这些都引起了关于他的理念的激烈辩论。他究竟是一个要给罗纳德?里根以左翼回击的冥顽不灵的自由派?还是他是一个正如他自己所宣称的新民主党人 ?1答案可能是两者皆是。奥巴马是一个务实的自由派,比比尔?克林顿的新民主党人们对大政府更有信心,但是比他们党当中的那些老古板们更少拘泥于自由主义的解决方案。



He has spent his career, apart from a year or so in business consultancy, in the non-profit sector, first as a community organiser and later as a rising politician. In his memoirs he often speaks disparagingly about the private sector. He draws some of his keenest support from trade unions and liberal pressure-groups. The most influential think-tank in Mr Obama’s Washington, the training ground for many of his top appointees, is the Centre for American Progress, funded by liberal billionaires such as George Soros and Peter Lewis.

他将他绝大多数的职业生涯,除了一年左右的时间花在商业顾问方面,都花在了非盈利领域,刚开始是作为社区的组织者,其后则作为一颗冉冉升起的政治新星。在他的回忆录里面他经常轻蔑的谈及私营(商业)部门。同时也描述了一些他来自公会和自由派压力集团的最为热心的支持。在华盛顿对其最有影响力的智库,同时也是他所任命的高管的训练地是美国进步中心(Centre for American Progress),这是由那些持类似乔治?索罗斯和彼得?刘易斯这样持自由主义观点的百万富翁所建立的。

But the president also has a pragmatist’s suspicion of ideology. Some of the most prominent figures in his administration are centrists. Kathleen Sebelius, his prospective health secretary, was a popular governor of Kansas, one of the country’s most conservative states. Larry Summers, his chief economic adviser, is a famous gorer of liberal ones. Cass Sunstein, his regulation tsar, argues that the government should use market incentives to “nudge” people rather than bludgeoning them directly.

但是奥巴马对于政治理想也有着实用主义者的怀疑。他的政府中的一些最为显赫的身影是中间派。他未来的卫生部长凯瑟琳?西贝利厄斯(Kathleen Sebelius)是一位在堪萨斯州这个美国最保守的州里广受欢迎的州长。他的首席经济顾问拉里?萨默斯(Larry Summers)则是一块著名的“挑动自由派的红布”。他的 “监管沙皇”卡斯?桑斯坦(Cass Sunstein),则认为政府应该利用市场激励手段来“点拨”人们而不是用大棒来直接恐吓他们。2

Mr Obama certainly plans to increase taxes on the rich—but only to their level during Mr Clinton’s administration, which presided over the high-tech boom and a surge in the small-business sector. Mr Obama wants to reform the health-care sector. But he prefers to supplement the private system rather than replace it with a “single-payer” national health service; many of his supporters are business people crushed by the cost of health care. He wants to increase the role of the federal government in education. But he also speaks eloquently about introducing more merit pay and creating more charter schools. “The resources come with a bow tied around them that says ‘reform’,” argues his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. The administration’s nervousness about old-fashioned liberalism has contributed to its hesitancy in dealing with the banking crisis. Rather than simply “nationalising” the weakest banks and taking over their bad debt, it has preferred to create an elaborate system of incentives for private investors.

奥巴马当然计划给富人加税,但是只是加到克林顿政府的水平而已,而在这一水平下诞生了高科技的繁荣和小企业的大量涌现。奥巴马希望改革医保系统。但他更宁愿选择通过对商业医保系统予以补充而非仰仗国家健康体系这一“唯一支付人”;他的许多支持者是受医保成本影响的商人。他要增强联邦政府在教育领域的作用。但是他也曾在演讲中雄辩的提到引入更多的绩效工资和设立更多的特许学校。3 “这些资源总是披着“改革”光环出现”他的办公厅主任拉姆?伊曼纽尔(Rahm Emanuel)如是说。这届政府对于旧式自由主义的担心使得其在处理银行危机中进一步的迟缓。与其简单的“国有化”那些最孱弱的银行并接管他们的债务,不如建立一个激励私人投资者的精心设计的系统。

If his domestic policy is a mix of pragmatism and liberal ambition, his foreign policy is a mixture of pragmatism and liberal caution. He has revised the legal regime governing al-Qaeda terrorists, put an end to brutal interrogations and promised to close down Guantánamo Bay, to the delight of the anti-war left. But otherwise his policy is characterised by a combination of realism and caution. Realism when dealing with other powers: he has signalled to the Chinese that he will not make a fuss over human rights, and to Arab rulers that he will take a more balanced approach to the Middle East. Caution when it comes to unwinding the “war on terror”: he has rethought his campaign promise to withdraw America’s troops from Iraq in 16 months, is increasing America’s military presence in Afghanistan and is stepping up strikes into Pakistani territory.

如果说奥巴马的国内政策是实用主义和自由派雄心的混合的话,那么他的外交政策则是实用主义和自由派谨慎的混合物。他修订了原基地组织控制地区的法律体系,结束了野蛮的审讯并承诺关闭在关塔那摩湾的基地,以取悦那些反战左翼。但是另一方面他的政策也有着鲜明的现实主义和审慎相混合的特征。在同其他强权打交道的时候采取现实主义:他向中国暗示他不会在人权问题上捣捣阵,向阿拉伯世界的统治者们表示他将寻求给中东地区带来更多的均势。而在解决“反恐战争”问题时则采取审慎态度:他重新思考了他16个月内从伊拉克撤军的竞选承诺,开始增加美国在阿富汗的军事力量并且加紧向巴基斯坦地区实行军事打击。

Obamateur
业余的奥巴马

The biggest surprise of Mr Obama’s first two months has not been his policy preferences (most of which he advertised), but a certain lack of competence. The man who earned the sobriquet “No Drama Obama” for running such a disciplined campaign has, since coming to office, slipped on one banana skin after another.

奥巴马政权的头两个月造成的最大惊奇不在于他的政策取向(多是他曾经大肆广告的),而是在一定程度上的无能。这个有着“绝非儿戏奥巴马”绰号,运行了如此记录严明的竞选的人,在来到办公室之后却接二连三的踩到香蕉皮上面。

He has lost a remarkable number of nominees: two potential commerce secretaries, Bill Richardson and Judd Gregg; a health secretary-cum-health-reform tsar, Tom Daschle; a chief performance officer, Nancy Killefer; and a head of the National Intelligence Council, Charles Freeman. This has clouded his administration’s claims to ethical purity, not least because two of the nominees, Mr Daschle and Mr Killefer, had tax problems. It has also contributed to the sense of chaos.

他提名失败的数量令人吃惊:两个未来的商务部部长,比尔?理查德森和贾德?格莱格;一个卫生部长兼医保沙皇,汤姆?达施勒;一个行政效能干事,南希?基利弗;以及他的国家情报委员会主席,查尔斯?弗里曼。这为他的政府所宣称的道德纯洁性投下了阴影,不仅仅是因为的两个题名人,达施勒和基利弗有税务问题,也使人意识到一种混沌情景。

Mr Obama is paying a heavy price for securing the nomination of his treasury secretary, Tim Geithner. Mr Geithner’s tax problems meant that the White House had to be super-scrupulous in vetting other Treasury figures. He was uncertain in his early public appearances and slow to produce a plan for sorting out America’s banks. Mr Obama’s confidence in him may at last be paying off; his plan for buying “toxic assets”, released this week, sent the markets soaring, he gave a confident performance before Congress, and the senior ranks of his department are now beginning to fill up. But it would have been nice not to have waited so long for the Treasury to start firing on all cylinders.

奥巴马为确保它的财政部长提名付出了沉重代价,蒂姆?盖特纳的税务问题意味着白宫在提名其他的财政部人选时必须吹毛求疵的审查。他在他的早期公开露面时表现的并不确定而且在制定一个救助美国的银行的计划方面行动缓慢。奥巴马对他的信任可能最终将会耗尽;他本周推出的收购“有毒资产”的计划,使得市场一飞冲天,他在国会面前表现的充满自信,而他的高级官员也开始得以充实。但是如果财政部不需要等这么久就可以全速启动的话就更好了。

The Obama administration has also made a long list of smaller mistakes. Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, ought to be one of Mr Obama’s closest allies in fixing the global financial system, for both ideological and historical reasons. But Mr Obama badly mishandled his meeting with Mr Brown, giving him no more than half an hour and presenting him with a gift of a job lot of DVDs which do not even work in Britain. The G20 meeting in London is the first get-together of all the big industrial countries since Mr Obama came to office. But the administration’s preparations have been cursory.

奥巴马政权的小错误能列出一长串出来。英国首相戈登?布朗,不管是理念上还是历史上的原因,都应该是奥巴马在修补全球金融系统方面最亲密的盟友。但是奥巴马极其错误的安排了同布朗的会谈,只给了他一个半小时以及一些DVD作为礼物,而这些DVD甚至在英国不能播放。即将在伦敦举行的G20会议是全球工业国家领袖们在奥巴马上台之后第一次聚在一起。但是这届政府的准备却非常粗糙。

Many of Mr Obama’s mistakes stem from a single strategic miscalculation: he is trying to do too much too quickly. The financial crisis would overwhelm any administration, let alone one that is still trying to fill key jobs. But Mr Obama has chosen this moment to tackle a collection of problems, such as health care and environmental regulation, that have defeated much less overburdened administrations.
奥巴马的许多错误产生于一个简单的战略错判:他太急于求成了。金融危机应的紧迫性该是最为压倒性的,更不用说(财政部)还有一个关键职位有待填补。但是奥巴马选择在这个时候去处理一大堆的问题,例如医疗保险以及环境管理,而这些任务已经使得大量负担甚至更少的政府了。

The administration advances two justifications for this, one substantive (you can’t fix America’s economy without also dealing with its long-term problems) and one political (“Never waste a good crisis”). The American economy will certainly be stronger if the country can tame its health-care costs. But health-care inflation has nothing to do with the financial crisis. The problem with never wasting a good crisis is that you alienate potential supporters, particularly Republicans, and risk overloading the system. “Mr Obama likes to say that presidents can do more than one thing at a time,” remarks Peggy Noonan, a Reagan speech writer, “but in fact modern presidents are lucky to do one thing at a time, never mind two.” It is worth remembering that Mr Obama’s idol, Franklin Roosevelt, introduced a broad reform agenda only after he had gained credit for tackling the banking crisis.

这届政府为此作出两项辩解,一个是实质性的(你不能在不解决其他长期问题的情况下修复美国经济),另一个是政治性的(“永远不要浪费危机”)。美国如果能控制其医疗保险开支,经济情况当然会更加强劲。但是压力保险膨胀与金融危机毫无关系。永远不要浪费危机的问题在于梳理了潜在支持者,尤其是共和党人,并且冒着使得系统过载的危险。“奥巴马喜欢说总统可以同时干好几件事情,”里根的演讲词撰稿人佩吉?怒恩评论说,“但是事实上,现代总统们能一次做好一件事情就足够幸运了,更不用说两件。”值得提起的是,奥巴马的偶像富兰克林?罗斯福,只是在他取得了处理银行危机的成就之后才开始引入范围广泛的改革。

There is plenty of evidence that the administration is much too thinly stretched. David Smick, a consultant, argues that Mr Obama has a three-pronged approach to the crisis—“delay, delay, delay”. He announces grand plans only to stint on the details. He promises budgetary discipline only to put off the hard decisions until later. The president pops up with a speech excoriating AIG bonuses (“I am angry”) but fails to explain the thinking behind his economic programme. Mr Buffett has given voice to widespread worries about the administration’s failure to prioritise. “Job one is to win the war, the economic war. Job two is to win the economic war—and job three. And you can’t expect people to unite behind you if you’re trying to jam a whole bunch of things down their throat.”

足够的证据表明这届政府的的弦绷的太紧了。一位咨询师大卫?斯米克,认为奥巴马有一个三管齐下的方法来应对危机——“否认,否认,否认”。他制定了宏大计划但却吝于细节。他许诺了有纪律的制定预算却只是为了推迟以后艰难的决策。总统跳出来痛批AIG的奖金(“我恨愤怒”)但是却无法阐述他经济计划之后的想法。巴菲特发出的关于政府搞不清楚轻重缓急的声音代表了一种广泛的担心。“首要任务是取得战争的胜利,指的是经济战争。其次是取得经济战争的胜利。第三仍然如此。你不能期待人们能团结一致的支持你,如果你要同时让他们咽下这么一大堆东西的话。”



Mr Obama’s decision to announce a big-spending budget just when he is spending billions to rescue the financial system has also reinforced worries about America’s fiscal situation. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that some of Mr Obama’s social policies will be more expensive than the White House claims, and that the economy will grow more slowly. The deficit will be $9.3 trillion over the next decade, averaging 5.3% of GDP a year. Mr Orszag concedes that such a number would be unsustainable.

在他正在花费数以十亿计的美元来救助金融系统的时候,奥巴马推出开支庞大预算的决定也使得对于美国财政现状的担心进一步加强了。国会预算办公室估计奥巴马的一些社会政策将会比白宫所宣称的更加耗费,并使得经济增长进一步的缓慢。下一个十年里赤字将会达到9万3千亿美元。占每年GDP的5.3%。奥尔扎格承认这一数字将会是不可持续的。

Politics-as-usual
政治复萌

Almost as striking as the contrast between Mr Obama’s soaring ambition and his frequent incompetence is that between his promise to elevate politics and his willingness to continue with politics-as-usual. All presidents run for office promising to change Washington and end up becoming its captives. But few have reversed themselves as quickly as the Hope-meister.

如同奥巴马的好高骛远与经常性的无能间的鲜明反差几乎是同样引人瞩目的,是他提升政治水准的允诺与其保持原样的意愿间的反差。所有的总统在竞选时都允诺改变华盛顿但最后都变成了它的俘虏。但还没有哪个像这位希望之子那样转变的这么快。

Take bipartisanship. It is true that Mr Obama has made some bipartisan appointments, keeping Robert Gates at the Pentagon and giving transport to Ray LaHood. He made concessions in stimulus negotiations, and has invited a few Republicans over for cocktails. But his bipartisanship has been mostly of the George Bush variety: he is quite happy for his opponents to endorse his policies.

发展两党合作。奥巴马确实也做出了一些带有两党合作色彩的任命,如让罗伯特?盖茨在五角大楼留任并把交通部给了雷?拉胡德。他在刺激政策谈判时做出了让步,而且邀请了一些共和党人来参加鸡尾酒会。但是他的两党合作却几乎是乔治?布什式的变种:他以他的对手支持他的政策而高兴而已。



He has surrounded himself with hardened Democratic “pols” such as Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, and David Axelrod, his campaign strategist-turned-senior adviser. He has filled the top levels of his administration almost exclusively with people from the world of government: a former senator (at State), two former government officials (Treasury and Defence), two former governors (Health and Homeland Security). David Ignatius of the Washington Post points out that this administration is “as thin on business experience as a Hyde Park book club”. This not only limits the range of advice he can hear and the experience he can draw on. It also makes it even more difficult to prevent panic on Wall Street or Main Street.

他让他自己和那些民主党强硬派“政客”们沆瀣一气,如他的白宫办公厅主任拉姆?伊曼纽尔,他的竞选智囊出身的高级顾问大卫?阿克塞尔罗德。他用来填补政府最高级官员职缺的人几乎一水的来自于政府官僚世界:一个前任参议员(去了国务院),两个前政府官员(财政部和国防部),两个前州长(卫生部和国土安全)。华盛顿邮报的大卫?伊格内修斯指出,奥巴马政权“在商业上的经验单薄的宛如海德公园图书俱乐部” 4。这不仅限制了他所能听到的意见以及所能仰仗的经验的来源范围,也使得他在阻止华尔街或者实体经济的恐慌时显得步履维艰。

Mr Obama is now enthusiastically engaged in something that he foreswore as a candidate: the art of the permanent campaign. Senior White House advisers meet every Wednesday night to plot political strategy. Mr Obama’s former campaign manager, David Plouffe, is e-mailing millions of Obama supporters to encourage them to put pressure on their congressional representatives to pass the budget. Mr Obama gives a striking share of his set piece speeches in swing states. The Obama team has repeatedly suggested that the Republicans are a party of “no” who owe fealty to Rush Limbaugh, a polarising talk-radio host. In other words, Mr Obama is squandering his political capital doing exactly what Mr Clinton did so often in his presidency: justifying his mistakes, trying to get the better of the 24-hour news cycle, and demonising opponents.

奥巴马目前正热衷于他作为候选人时所宣称的:永远在竞选状态的艺术。白宫高级顾问们每周三晚上开会密谋政治战略。奥巴马的前竞选主管大卫?普劳夫,给上百万的奥巴马支持者发邮件来怂恿他们给他们选区的国会代表施加压力以使预算通过。奥巴马在他的定调演说中给了摇摆州以惊人的份额。奥巴马团队反复的暗示,共和党是一个搅屎棍子党,经常向一个极端的电台主持人拉什?林堡输诚。换句话说,奥巴马向克林顿在其任期内经常干的那样浪费他的政治资本:如为自己的错误辩解,试图得到更好的24小时新闻周期,以及妖魔化对手。

Mr Obama’s decision to restart the campaign engine is a sign of his administration’s troubles. It is desperate to distract attention from the fact that it has broken some of its promises. It is determined to manage the anger stirred up by the huge bonuses paid to various AIG honchos. It is also desperate to make sure that the Republican Party cannot make too much political capital from the chaos at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The result is a downward spiral: the more Mr Obama fails, the more he resorts to the permanent campaign, and the more he resorts to the permanent campaign, the more he becomes just like any other president.
奥巴马重启竞选机器的决定是其政府班子陷入困境的标志。分散对于他违背了一些竞选承诺这一事实的注意力令人失望。这包括决定控制由于AIG给各个老板们的巨额分红所引起的愤怒。也包括确保共和党不至于从宾夕法尼亚大街1600号(白宫)的混沌中火中取栗太多。结果是恶性循环:奥巴马越失败,他越要求助于持续竞选(政治操弄),他越求助于持续竞选,他就越像其他的总统。

To add to the impression of business as usual, Mr Obama is continuing the long-standing trend of amassing ever more power in the White House. He has appointed a clutch of powerful White House-based tsars to oversee Cabinet offices. These tsars have no accountability to anybody but Mr Obama. They have every incentive to engage in empire building and turf wars. For example, Jim Jones, the national security adviser, is redefining the role of the NSC to oversee everything from traditional foreign policy to climate change. American liberals complained bitterly about the Bush administration’s politicisation of intelligence. But Mr Obama has arguably taken this politicisation to new heights by appointing Leon Panetta, a Democratic loyalist with no roots in the intelligence world, to oversee the CIA.

为了加深一切照旧的印象,奥巴马继续把更多的权力攥在白宫手上这一趋势。他指派了一群以白宫为靠山的铁腕沙皇们来指挥内阁。
这些沙皇们只对奥巴马本人负责。他们用充分的动力来搞山头和抢地盘。美国自由派们强烈的抱怨布什政府对于情报应用的政治化。但是奥巴马充满争议的通过指派一个在情报界毫无根基的民主党死忠莱昂?潘内特来指挥CIA,从而将这一手法提升到了新的高度。

The president cannot yet be described as a failure. It is still early days. America’s political system, unlike Britain’s elective dictatorship, is designed to be frustrating. Power is divided. Congress uses its position to inject bloat into legislation. Presidents ricochet between success and failure. At this point in the election cycle Mr Clinton was embroiled in the gays-in-the-military fiasco and John Kennedy was heading towards the Bay of Pigs.

总统还不能被描述成一个失败者。下结论还为时过早。美国的政治系统和英国的选举导向的专制不同,设计上就充满扯皮。权力被分置了。国会利用其优势在立法中塞入私货。总统在成败之间跳跃。在这个意义上来说,克林顿曾经在军人同性恋事件的惨败和约翰?肯尼迪的向猪湾开拨都处于这样的选举周期上。

The confirmation process has been getting ever longer and more traumatic. Every recent president has seen presidential nominees flame out in disgrace. Polarisation has intensified. The recession raises questions that go to the heart of the ideological division between the parties: should you resort to Keynesian stimulus or Schumpeterian creative destruction? Should you bail out people who have borrowed too much money or let them sink? Even a president who had worked hard at bipartisanship might have been undone by these divisions. Mr Obama’s approval ratings remain in the 60s, despite the pressure of a global crisis, and the Republicans remain unpopular and rudderless.

(对这一点的)确认过程正变得越来越漫长和越来越创伤。晚近以来每个总统的光环都在屈辱中熄灭。极化进一步加重了。衰退带来的问题逐渐深入到两党分歧理念的核心:究竟应该求助于凯恩斯主义的刺激还是熊彼特的创造性毁灭?对于那些过度借债的人们究竟应该救助还是应该任其自生自灭?甚至对于一个致力于两党合作的总统来说都将被这些分歧搞得灰头土脸。奥巴马的支持率仍然在60%,尽管全球危机的压力(仍在持续),以及共和党仍然不得人心群龙无首。

During the election campaign Mr Obama was frequently slow to respond to crises. Then, just when his supporters began to despair and his opponents began to smell blood, he would pull himself together and rise to the occasion. Mr Obama has been slow to get the full measure of the presidency. He has failed to establish firm priorities, and has all too often let events dictate his agenda. All in all, his performance has looked shaky. But at last this week there were signs, when he revealed his bank bail-out plan, that he is starting to do what he did so often during the campaign: justifying the enormous faith that has been put in him.

在竞选当中,奥巴马经常对危机缓慢反应。那时,只是当他的支持者开始失望以及他的对手开始嗅到鲜血时,他才整合团队挺身而出。奥巴马进入总统状态也已经迟缓了。他没有建立起完善的优先顺序,并且经常让事件主宰他的日程。总的来说,他的表现看起来摇摇摆摆。但是在过去的一周里面,迹象表明,当他推出他的银行救助计划时,他开始象在竞选当中所擅长的那样:将无数人对他的所寄托的信仰付诸于落实。

1 新民主党人是1988年老布什总统获胜以后民主党兴起的一个折衷主义政治思潮,他们宣称在社会、文化立场上更加温和并支持新自由主义财政政策。——wikipedia
2 “Nudge”一词来自 和理查德·泰勒合著的一本畅销书:“Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness”,此处是双关用法,
3政府特许学校:在布什政府《不让一个孩子掉队》的法令下,一个公立学校如果连续三年在州标准化统考中不合格将面临被关闭的制裁,当一所学校面临被关闭的厄运时,州政府,当地的社会机构,企业,甚至个人可以将其接管,转为特许学校。特许学校的启动基金来自州政府,不受一般公立学校的法令条例限制,可以有自己的操作系统。
4“海德公园”是一个小型政治团体,主要由芝加哥当地的专业人士与大学教授组成,多年来奉行中立的政治态度和决策。奥巴马选择“海德公园”作为自己从政的第一步,他以民权律师和大学法学讲师的身份进入了这个团体。






(The Economist ( http://www.economist.com ))
仅同意本网站翻译其杂志内容,并未对上述翻译内容进行任何审阅查对。
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发表于 2010-3-18 02:10 | 显示全部楼层
第一段:tackling entitlements :阻止了应享权利?
        the treatment of enemy combatants :处理能源战争 ?
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多谢提醒,翻译这一段的时候有点睡眼惺忪了...
entitlement 应该是指金融高管们的黄金降落伞和高额补助,这里翻译成津贴了
enemy combatants看成energy combatants....
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