美国文化 | 不可思议的友谊?美国总统们如何做朋友

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不可思议的友谊?美国总统们如何做朋友
For Some, Bush-Obama Rapport Recalls a Lost Virtue: Political Civility

WASHINGTON —Maybe it was the unexpected warmth of the gesture, the sheer enveloping display of affection.
华盛顿——也许是因为那举动散发着出人意料的温暖,毫不掩饰的好感。

Maybe it was his response, the beatific expression on his face, eyes almost closed, head tilted toward her shoulder.
也许是因为他的反应,慈祥的表情,几乎闭上了双眼,头靠向她的肩膀。

Maybe it was the moment: tenderness at a time when presidential politics has become a festival of cruelty.
也许是因为这一时间点:在总统政治变成残酷大戏的时刻,出现了一点温柔。

在国立非裔美国人历史与文化博物馆,米歇尔·奥巴马拥抱了前总统乔治·W·布什。

But when Michelle Obama hugged former President George W. Bush on Saturday, at a ceremony to open the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the image quickly took flight online.
在周六的国立非裔美国人历史与文化博物馆(National Museum of African American History and Culture)开幕式上,米歇尔·奥巴马(Michelle Obama)拥抱前总统乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)的画面,很快在网上引起热议。

However one chose to interpret it — and overinterpretation is a hazard in such exercises — it became an instant metaphor. Some saw the lost virtue of civility in politics; others, the unlikely friendships that blossom at the rarefied heights of public life. To critics on the left, it was a shameful case of political amnesia by the wife of a president who spent years cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor.
无论你如何解读——在这样的场合下是很容易出现过度解读的——这幅画面已经立即成为一种隐喻。有人看到已经在政治中消失的礼貌;有人认为这是高高在上的政界生活中产生的一种不可思议的友谊。对左派批评人士而言,此举是可耻的政治失忆症,要知道她的丈夫正是那位给前任收拾了几年烂摊子的总统。

Mrs. Obama and Mr. Bush have had a few such memorable moments. In July in Dallas at a memorial service for five police officers killed by an Army veteran, the two held hands while singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” When Mr. Bush began swaying to the music, Mrs. Obama gamely let him swing her arm back and forth. At one point, as the choir sang “glory, glory hallelujah,” he turned to her in a burst of enthusiasm, causing the first lady to crack up, despite the solemnity of the occasion.
奥巴马夫人和布什有过多个这样难忘的瞬间。7月在达拉斯为五位遭老兵枪杀的警察举行的追悼会上,两人手拉手唱起《共和国战歌》(The Battle Hymn of the Republic)。布什开始随着音乐摇摆,奥巴马夫人大度地让他抓着自己的手臂来回摆动。当唱诗班唱到“赞美,赞美哈利路亚”这一句时,他带着一股突然迸发的热情,转身面向她,令第一夫人在这肃穆的仪式上笑了起来。

In June 2012, when Mr. Bush returned to the White House for the unveiling of his official portrait, he aimed a few wisecracks at President Obama. But he saved his best material for Mrs. Obama, reminding her that when British soldiers set fire to the White House in 1814, another first lady, Dolley Madison, rescued the portrait of the first George W. — as in Washington.
2012年6月回到白宫参加他的官方肖像揭幕仪式时,布什说了几句关于奥巴马总统的俏皮话。但他最好的段子留给了奥巴马夫人。他提醒她,1814年英军放火烧白宫时,当时的第一夫人多莉·麦迪逊(Dolley Madison)把历史上第一个乔治·W总统的肖像抢救了出来。这里指的是乔治·华盛顿。

“Now, Michelle,” he said, gesturing to his own painting, “if anything happens, there’s your man.”
“那么,米歇尔,”他指着自己的肖像说,“要是有什么不测,你要为这个男人负责。”

Some of these encounters are explained by proximity. When the Obamas and the Bushes appear in public together, protocol dictates that Mrs. Obama stand next to Mr. Bush. Some of it is a function of the former president’s playful manner, which by all accounts has become more playful in his retirement.
在这些相遇的场合中,有的是因为两人距离近。一旦奥巴马夫妇和布什夫妇要一起露面,礼仪决定了奥巴马夫人会和布什紧挨着。有时候是因为这位前总统的活泼作风,自退休以来,这种作风愈发鲜明了。

But some of it also has to do with the relationship between the couples, which current and former officials say has deepened over the past seven and a half years, both because of the shared bond of living in the White House and because of Mr. Bush’s decorum as an ex-president.
然而有时候也是因为两对夫妇之间的交往。据一些现任和前任官员称,在过去的七年半里,双方的往来越来越密切,一方面是因为都有在白宫生活的经历,另外也因为布什作为一名前总统的得体举止。

“President Bush was very gracious to us during the transition, and he has been unfailingly gracious and respectful since,” said David Axelrod, a former adviser to Mr. Obama. He recalled the president telling him that the Bushes “had taught him lessons in how to be a former president.”
“布什总统在过渡期对我们非常慷慨,此后也一直保持着这种宽厚与尊敬,”曾任奥巴马顾问的戴维·阿克塞尔罗德(David Axelrod)说。他记得总统曾经对他说,布什夫妇“在如何当一名前总统方面给他上了几课”。

Mr. Bush has studiously avoided criticizing Mr. Obama or his policies. And Mr. Bush has lent his presence to occasions that meant a lot to the president, like the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, Ala., when Mr. Obama delivered what some believe was the finest speech of his presidency, on race relations in the United States. Mrs. Obama sat next to Mr. Bush on that day, too, frequently leaning over to talk or share a laugh with him.
布什一直在有意避免批评奥巴马或他的政策。他还在一些对奥巴马意义重大的场合露面,比如阿拉巴马州塞尔玛民权大游行50周年纪念,总统当时做了一场被认为是其任内最精彩的演讲,谈了美国的种族关系。奥巴马夫人那天也坐在布什身边,时不时凑过身去和他说话,或是分享一些欢笑。

Mrs. Obama’s rapport with Laura Bush is less playful, but Mrs. Obama’s aides say it is no less genuine. In early 2009, Mrs. Bush invited Mrs. Obama to visit the White House with her daughters, Malia and Sasha, for a private tour before her husband’s inauguration. Mrs. Bush’s daughters, Barbara and Jenna, showed the girls their new home, including good hiding places and banisters made for sliding.
奥巴马夫人和劳拉·布什(Laura Bush)在一起时没有表现得那么活泼,但奥巴马夫人的助手们说,两人的融洽关系同样是真挚的。2009年初,在奥巴马就职之前,布什夫人专程邀请奥巴马夫人携女儿马莉娅(Malia)和萨莎(Sasha)到白宫参观,布什夫人的女儿芭芭拉(Barbara)和詹娜(Jenna)带着奥巴马家的两个女孩看了她们的新家,包括理想的躲藏点,以及可以当滑梯的楼梯栏杆。

The two first ladies have appeared together regularly since, including this month at a conference at the National Archives to promote support for families of service members. In 2013, in Tanzania, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bush bonded during a conference on education for women and girls.
此后两位第一夫人经常一起露面,包括本月在国家档案馆参加一场会议,呼吁增进对军属的支持。2013年在坦桑尼亚,奥巴马夫人和布什夫人在一次关于女性教育的大会上相谈甚欢。

“I like this woman,” the first lady said of Mrs. Bush.
“我喜欢这个女人,”第一夫人这样说布什夫人。

Mrs. Obama added that “it’s hard to find people who know what you’re going through, who understand the burdens and the fears and the challenges.”
奥巴马夫人还说,“要找到一个知道你正在经受着什么,理解那种负担、忧虑和挑战的人,太难了。”

“It’s sort of a club,” Mrs. Bush replied. “A sorority, I guess.”
“有点俱乐部的意思,”布什夫人答道。“是个女生联谊会吧。”

The fraternity of presidents, is well documented, though some members are closer than others. Bill Clinton and George Bush became famously chummy, with Mr. Bush inviting the man who defeated him to the family compound in Kennebunkport, Me., to “play golf, spend the night” and “hurdle the waves at breakneck speed,” according to the book “The President’s Club,” by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.
总统们的联谊是有充分记载的,不过有些总统之间格外亲密一些。比尔·克林顿和老布什的友好关系世人皆知,南茜·吉布斯(Nancy Gibbs)和迈克尔·达菲(Michael Duffy)的《总统俱乐部》(The

President’s Club)一书中说,老布什邀请这个击败了他的人去缅因州肯纳邦克波特的家族庄园“打高尔夫,过夜”,还有“在海上乘风破浪”。
Mr. Clinton’s relationship with Mr. Obama took longer to thaw, largely as a consequence of the bitter 2008 primary race between Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton. There were a few golf games, an ice-breaking lunch at an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village, and, above all, Mr. Clinton’s memorable speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 defending the president’s economic record, after which Mr. Obama took to calling Mr. Clinton his “secretary of explaining stuff.” Now, Mr. Obama is campaigning vigorously for Mrs. Clinton to succeed him, cementing the political alliance between them.
克林顿和奥巴马的关系则经过了一段时间才回暖,主要是因为2008年奥巴马和希拉里·克林顿那场惨烈的初选撕斗。两人打过几次高尔夫球,在格林尼治村一家意大利餐馆吃了一顿冰释前嫌的午餐,但尤其重要的是克林顿在2012年民主党全国大会上的那场令人难忘的演讲,捍卫了总统的经济成绩,以至于奥巴马后来说克林顿是他的“头头是道部长”。眼下奥巴马正在全力帮助克林顿夫人接替他,从而巩固了双方的政治联盟。

Paradoxically, Mr. Obama’s relationship with the younger Mr. Bush has always seemed less complicated. Though Mr. Obama ran

on his opposition to the war in Iraq — and has never stopped deploring that war — he appears to have an easy rapport with his predecessor. After the ceremony at the museum on Saturday, Mr. Bush was trying to take a photograph of himself with a family, only to find he could not fit everyone in the frame. The solution? He tapped Mr. Obama on the back, handed him the phone, and asked him to take the picture.
奇怪的是奥巴马和小布什的关系相比之下总是显得更单纯一些。奥巴马在竞选时选取了反对伊拉克战争的立场——此后也一直在强烈谴责那场战争——但他和自己的前任似乎相处很融洽。在周六的博物馆仪式结束后,布什想要和一个参与活动的家庭合影,结果发现他没法把所有人都拍进去。怎么办?他拍了拍奥巴马的背,把手机递给他,要他来拍。

As Mr. Obama was wrapping up his speech, he could not resist a gentle poke at his predecessor, who is known for his restlessness, laying odds on the length of his own remarks.
在演讲接近尾声时,奥巴马忍不住拿这位以不耐烦著称的前任开了个玩笑,针对自己的演讲时长打了赌。

“Enough talk,” Mr. Obama said. “President Bush was timing me. He had the over/under at 25” minutes.
“说得够多了,”奥巴马说。“布什总统在给我计时呢。他开的大小盘是25”分钟。

本文刊发于 2016年9月27日

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