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美国总统大选开打 双语

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2012年1月3日的共和党艾奥瓦州党团会议正式拉开美国总统大选帷幕。11月16日,美国全国选民将投票选出下一届美国总统。12月17日,选举人团选出总统。2013年1月6日,参众两院宣布获胜者。2013年1月20日,新总统就职典礼。


Game on
大战开始


The campaign looks likely to sharpen America's divisions.
总统竞选似乎深化了美国人的分歧。


AMERICA'S primary elections are not yet formally over, but with the exit of Rick Santorum it is at last plain that Mitt Romney will be the Republicans' nominee. After the bruising primaries, Mr Romney starts from behind. Barack Obama leads in the head-to-head polls. But there are still seven months to election day, and Mr Romney has a fair chance of victory in November. Less than half of America's voters approve of the way Mr Obama is doing his job. Six out of ten think the country is on the "wrong track". The recovery is still weak and 12.7m Americans are unemployed. America added only 120,000 jobs in March, below expectations and fewer than in previous months.
美国初选尚未正式结束,但随着里克·桑托利姆的退出,结果尘埃落定,米特·罗姆尼最终将成为共和党的提名人。在竞争激烈的初选后,罗姆尼后来居上,奥巴马则在两党共同举行的民意调查中领先。但距离选举日还有7个月,罗姆尼仍然有在11月公平竞争,和对手一较高下的机会。美国选民中,只有不到一半的人认可奥巴马总统的工作。他们中10个人就有6个认为美国正处于一条“错误的轨道”上。经济恢复依旧疲弱,1270万美国人失业。3月份美国新增120,000个就业岗位,这一数字低于预期,同时也比前几个月的少。


This fight is going to be nastier than the one in 2008. By instinct Mr Romney is a moderate, but the primaries tugged him sharply right, forcing him to boast that he was "severely conservative" by embracing policies, including deep cuts in social spending, that even the famous flip-flopper will now find it difficult to drop. After the primaries, candidates pivot towards the centre. But Mr Romney knows that to turn out a conservative base that does not love him he must mobilise their hatred of Mr Obama. In the meantime Mr Obama appears to believe that he cannot afford to present himself once more as a healer who will soar above party divisions. He is running a more partisan campaign this time round. An already polarised America therefore faces a deeply polarising election.
本次大选战况将比2008年的大选更加难分难解。罗姆尼本质上是走稳健路线的,但是初选把他推到了极右阵营,迫使他支持一些政策来宣称自己是“极端保守”的,这些政策包括大幅削减社会支出。然而即使是那些名气大的墙头草政客们也发现,削减社会开支难度很大。初选之后,候选人们的重心已经移到了中心。但是罗姆尼知道,要想在不欢迎自己的保守派阵营中取得一席之地,他必须激起这些人对奥巴马总统的敌视。奥巴马总统似乎认为自己不能再以党派分歧调停人的形象出现了。本次竞选,他把更多心思花在自己的阵营上。这样一来,社会极化严重的美国要面临一场同样极化严重的大选。



The second time, it's harder
再次参选,难度更大


In 2008 Mr Obama promised audacity, hope and "change we can believe in". His appeal sprang from who he was: a fresh young senator offering a new direction after the clapped-out administration of George Bush and a safer pair of hands than the 72-year-old John McCain. But incumbents cannot run on promise alone. This time he will be judged less on who he is and more on what he has done.
2008年奥巴马承诺带给美国“胆量,希望”和“可以信任的变革”。他的吸引力源于他本身的特点:他是一名年轻的新参议员,可以在腐朽不堪的布什政府后为美国提供一个新的方向,同时他又比已经72岁的约翰·麦凯恩更加让人放心。但是当权者不能只做承诺。这一次民众关心他本身的特点更少一些,关心他的执政成果更多一些。


Considering the circumstances, he has not done badly. He can justly claim to have prevented a GREat recession from turning into a GREat depression. He rescued Detroit's carmakers and finished the job of stabilising the banks. Mr Romney says he made a bad situation worse, but if Mr Obama had not used billions of borrowed dollars to stimulate the sagging economy, even more Americans would be out of work today. By battering al-Qaeda and killing Osama bin Laden, he has disproved the notion that Democrats are soft on national security.
考虑到美国当时的大环境,他做的已经不坏了。他可以理直气壮地说自己已经阻止美国经济从不景气滑向大萧条.他拯救了底特律的汽车制造商,同时也完成了稳定银行的工作。罗姆尼说奥巴马让情况变得更糟,但要不是奥巴马总统向一蹶不振的美国经济投入数十亿借来的钱,美国现在会有更多的人失业。重创基地组织,杀死本拉登之后,他已经粉碎了外界认为民主党在国家安全上软弱无力的观点。


Still, "it could have been worse" has never been an inspiring re-election slogan. The recovery is still so tepid that Mr Obama cannot risk running on his record alone. He has therefore to cast the election as a choice, not a referendum on his performance. That requires him to make the choice as stark as possible. For months he has portrayed the Republicans as ruthless asset-strippers who care nothing about the middle class so long as they can promote the interests of the super-rich. How lucky for Mr Obama that the super-rich Mr Romney made his fortune in the cut-throat business of private equity.
然而,“要是没有我情况会更坏”可不是个振奋人心的竞选口号.经济复苏依旧不冷不热,奥巴马不能只靠之前执政成果来竞选,这样很冒险。因此他得表现出这是个让人做出抉择的大选,而不是因为他的执政成果人们才投他的票。这就要求他把自己和罗姆尼这两个民众的选择的特征展现的一目了然。最近几个月他把共和党人描述成一群只要能维护大富豪利益,就会去野蛮掠夺财产,不顾中产阶级死活的人。罗姆尼可是个在残酷的私募基金行业中赚了大钱的富豪,这对奥巴马总统来说是多么幸运的一件事。


This is the electoral logic behind the speech last week in which Mr Obama claimed that the Republicans had embraced a form of "thinly veiled social Darwinism" that would deprive needy children of healthy food, slash cancer research, close down national parks and eliminate air-traffic control in swathes of the country. It sounds scary, and it contains more than a grain of truth—but in fact the Republicans have proposed none of these specific cuts. Mr Obama's dystopian predictions are based on his own extrapolations from the broad spending cuts proposed by the Republicans in ConGREss.
这就是上周奥巴马总统演讲中背后的竞选逻辑,演讲中他宣称共和党人支持一种“露骨的社会进化论”,这一行为将夺去贫困儿童的健康食物,阻碍癌症研究,使国家公园关闭,同时取消美国许多地方的航空管制。这听起来很可怕,这当中包含的不止一丝真理--但是实际上共和党没有建议过削减上述特定开支。奥巴马总统这一反乌托邦式的预言基于他自己的推断,他的推断又来源于共和党在国会中提出的大范围削减开支的提案。


Mr Romney's retort is that the president is attacking policies nobody is proposing, "setting up straw men to distract from his record". Coming from the Republicans, this is rich. They have attacked a straw man since the day Mr Obama was inaugurated. They labelled his conventional Keynesian response to a deep recession "socialist". They called "Obamacare" unAmerican, even though this market-based scheme to extend health cover to 30m uninsured Americans is almost identical to the one Mr Romney adopted as governor of Massachusetts.
罗姆尼反驳,称总统正对没人提议过的政策进行抨击,罗姆尼此举是“创造一个假想敌,让选民不去注意奥巴马的执政成果”.很多共和党人都这样反击。从奥巴马就职的那天起,他们就一直在攻击一个假想敌。他们用奥巴马传统的凯恩斯式的回应给奥巴马贴上一个“深度衰退社会主义者”的标签。他们称“奥巴马医保方案”不符合美国人利益,尽管这一基于市场,将医保覆盖至30万未投保的美国人身上的方案和罗姆尼当马萨诸塞州州长时采取的方案大同小异。



Mr Romney also accuses Mr Obama of drowning the American dream in a sea of red ink. But on this issue there is plenty of blame to go round. Although Mr Obama has yet to come up with a serious plan to tame entitlements, he did try last summer to negotiate a "grand bargain" on the deficit. And when that failed, ConGREss voted for an automatic deficit-reducing spending cut (the "sequester") of $1.2 trillion over the next decade that is supposed to kick in at the end of this year.
罗姆尼还控告奥巴马把美国梦拖入赤字的汪洋大海里。但在这件事情上,奥巴马有许多让人指责的地方。尽管奥巴马至今尚未出台重要的计划来削减国民福利(这里真心不会翻译),但他去年夏季确实试着在财政赤字上做出“大妥协”。当那失败之后,国会自动对在未来十年内用削减1.2万亿美元开支来填补赤字的方案进行投票,今年年底这一方案应该会通过。


Elections that offer clear choices can be good things. Isn't that politics as usual? But American voters are in danger of being forced to choose in November between a Republican Party that is allergic to needed tax rises and a Democratic Party that lacks the courage to make the spending cuts required for America to live within its means. The prospect is for a shouting match that pushes the parties ever further apart and threatens to make the whole system of government seize up.
要是大选能让人做出明确的选择,那可是好事。这不正是和以往一样的政治吗?但是美国选民正面临这样一种风险,他们被迫在共和党和民主党中做出选择,前者对必不可少的税收提高过于敏感,而后者则缺乏勇气尽可能地削减可以让美国渡过难关的开支. 大选估计要演变成一场骂战,让两个党派分歧更加严重,同时两党彼此威胁要让政府停摆。


This is not politics as usual
这不是和以往一样的政治


Indeed, the system is already dangerously close to seizing up. The present ConGREss is the most polarised of modern times. The Republican landslide in the 2010 mid-terms swept a new breed of conservative zealot into office, destroying the middle ground and making legislating next to impossible. The Supreme Court is polarised, too—so much so that it might strike down Obamacare, the president's flagship achievement, on the deciding vote of a single judge.
实际上,政府已经有停摆的危险。美国近代历史中,现今的美国国会现极化最严重。2010年美国中期选举共和党取得大胜,国会涌入一群新的保守主义狂热者,破坏了国会的中间立场,同时让立法变得近乎不可能。最高法院也极化严重---因此它可能会因法官的决定票而否定奥巴马这个一流的医改方案。


In short, America is in dire need of the sort of comity Mr Obama promised in 2008. We are not red states and blue states, he said then, we are the United States. What a pity that he is changing tack this time, bashing the rich via gimmicks such as the "Buffett rule" (which is supposed to make millionaires like Mr Romney pay at least the same tax rate as their secretaries) and galvanising his base by brushing aside even the sensible part of the Republican argument that something radical must be done to curb entitlement spending. He may feel he has no choice. But it is a miserable portent for the future.
总而言之,美国亟需奥巴马总统在2008年所承诺的礼让。当时他说“我们不是共和党人,也不是民主党人,我们是美国人”。这次他改变了战略,用诸如“巴菲特法案”(这一法案将让像罗姆尼这样的百万富翁和他们的秘书以同样的税率纳税)一类的花招来打击富人,同时漠视共和党观点中的明智之处(如在削减福利开支方面必须要激进)来巩固自己,这让人颇为遗憾。或许他觉得自己已经别无选择。但是这预示着美国不乐观的未来。

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