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Next on Agenda Is Clinton’s Role

(2008-06-04 18:10:01)
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杂谈

分类: 英文
 News Analysis

Next on Agenda Is Clinton’s Role

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, on Tuesday in St. Paul, watching Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech on television.

Senator Barack Obama heads into the general election with obvious advantages: He is a Democratic candidate running in a sour atmosphere for Republicans, in a contest where voters are hungry for change and coming out of a campaign in which he filled arena after arena with supporters.

Yet while he would like to shift his attention fully to the onslaught already coming from Senator John McCain and the Republicans, Mr. Obama still has problems in his own party that may overshadow everything else until he addresses them: How to repair relations with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her supporters and whether to offer her a spot on the ticket.

Mrs. Clinton used her final hours of the long primary season to make clear that she would be open to being Mr. Obama’s running mate. If there was ever any hope in Democratic circles that she would let Mr. Obama off the hook with an evasion or a flat declaration of no interest, Mrs. Clinton dashed it on Tuesday.

Like her husband, Mrs. Clinton has a way of becoming the center of attention even when the spotlight is supposed to be trained elsewhere, a reality that Mr. Obama will no doubt continue to confront no matter how he proceeds. It was hardly a surprise that Mr. Obama lavished praise on Mrs. Clinton and her accomplishments in his remarks Tuesday night.

Until he deals with the Clinton question, it could be hard for Mr. Obama to move on to what he would like to achieve next: presenting himself to the entire electorate and not just Democrats, laying out his political ideology before Mr. McCain does it on his terms and trying to rectify some of the weaknesses highlighted by the combative primary process.

Beyond that, there are other questions. Can he survive an onslaught from a Republican machine that has proved adept over the past 20 years at discrediting Democratic candidates, particularly those with limited experience in running national campaigns? Is he, given his voting record, vulnerable to the kind of attacks Mr. McCain began Tuesday night as he sought to portray Mr. Obama as out of touch with much of the country on issues like taxes, government and threats to American security?

Much of the cautious optimism in the Obama campaign is based on the expectation that this is a turn-the-page election, that deep anger with President Bush, along with discontent over the war in Iraq and the economy will be channeled into a Democratic victory in November. But it is not yet clear that those substantive issues will fully trump cultural issues and values — like race, patriotism and class — or the question of whether voters will judge Mr. Obama, just a few years out of the Illinois legislature, to have the experience necessary to sit in the Oval Office.

There would be obvious advantages to an Obama-Clinton ticket. For one, it would go far toward healing wounded feelings among Mrs. Clinton’s supporters, especially women. Some of those supporters have suggested that they would either stay home or vote for Mr. McCain, who made an explicit appeal for their support Tuesday night as he tried to increase pressure on Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton would provide Mr. Obama with some of the foreign policy credentials he needs, bring her own bank of contributors and probably help put more states in play.

“I think the world of both of them,” said Senator Thomas R. Carper, Democrat of Delaware. “I want to see them run as a team.”

Yet there is clear, if not publicly expressed, apprehension in Mr. Obama’s circle about the wisdom of asking her to join the ticket. After gaining so much attention by campaigning on a promise of bringing fresh faces to Washington, Mr. Obama would be asking voters to put another Clinton in the White House, though in the No. 2 spot.

Mrs. Clinton does not come alone; beyond her own history — and the legions of voters who do not like her — she would bring along former President Bill Clinton, whose baggage might well be judged by Mr. Obama to outweigh his political skills, especially after a primary season that left Mr. Clinton’s reputation dented.

And running for president is very much about presenting command and authority. A crucial rule in the vice-presidential selection process is to avoid the perception of being pressured into a decision by a potential running mate.

“It’s backward looking to pick a Clinton at this point — and he’s all about forward looking, to being about change,” said Matt Bennett, a co-founder of Third Way, a moderate Democratic organization. “He’s all about a fundamentally new kind of politics. Picking a Clinton is by definition backward looking, and I just don’t think he wants that.”

What is more, some Democrats argued that rather than producing a ticket that would be bigger than the sum of its parts, it might have the opposite effect by pushing away both the groups of voters who are reluctant to vote for an African-American and those who are reluctant to vote for a woman.

Throughout the campaign, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama had a relationship that veered between strained and strange. Mr. Obama once referred to her during a debate as “likable enough,” while Mrs. Clinton at one point said she and Mr. McCain could offer voters “a lifetime of experience” while Mr. Obama “will put forth a speech he made in 2002,” a reference to the address in Chicago before he was elected to the Senate in which he came out against the Iraq war.

Inevitably, as the campaign continued, relations between the two sides got worse — exacerbated by Mrs. Clinton’s unwavering insistence that she would be the stronger candidate against Mr. McCain; some of Mr. Clinton’s remarks, like his characterization of Mr. Obama’s strong and consistent opposition to the war as a “fairy tale”; and impatience among Mr. Obama’s supporters with Mrs. Clinton’s decision to stay in the race to the end.

Mrs. Clinton’s actions on Tuesday could not have raised her stock with Mr. Obama. Whether she intended to or not, her remarks pulled the spotlight away from him, reminding him that in many ways, she is a character that is hard to push off the stage

下一议程是希拉里的角色

参议员奥巴马以明显的优势向大选发起冲锋:共和党的形势不佳,选民渴望改变,而且一路走来,他赢得了众多支持者。

  然而,尽管奥巴马希望把注意力完全转向马侃与共和党的冲击,但他的党内仍然有一个问题足以令其他一切失色:如何修补与参议员希拉里·克林顿及其支持者的关系,是否让她成为搭档。

  希拉里用漫长初选的最后几个小时清楚表明她对成为奥巴马竞选搭档持态度开放。

  和她的丈夫一样,希拉里总有办法成为注意力的中心,哪怕当聚光灯本将瞄准其他地方。这是一个事实,奥巴马毫无疑问要继续面对这个事实。奥巴马在周二晚上(6月3日晚)大方地赞赏希拉里及其成就,这算不上希奇事。

  在奥巴马处理完希拉里问题以前,他很难达成他希望在下一步达成的成就:在所有选民而不仅仅是民主党人面前表现自己,在马侃面前罗列他的政治理念,试图矫正杀气腾腾的初选进程所凸显的某些弱点。

  此外,还有其他问题。他能否经受住共和党机器的冲击?过去二十年证明共和党机器善于抹黑民主党候选人,特别是那些经验有限的人。

  奥巴马阵营的谨慎乐观的基础在于预期这是一场翻开新一页的选举,人们对布什的愤怒,加上对伊拉克战争和经济的不满将带来民主党11月的胜利。但目前尚不清楚那些重大问题会否完全盖过文化和价值观的问题——例如种族、爱国主义和阶级——或者选民会否认为只在伊利诺斯州立法机关呆过几年的奥巴马是否有坐镇白宫的必要经验。

  “奥希配”有明显的优势。首先,可以愈合希拉里支持者的伤痛感觉,特别是女性的。一些支持者已经表示他们要么呆在家中(不去投票),要么给马侃投票。马侃在周二晚直率地呼吁他们的支持,试图给奥巴马增加压力。希拉里可以给奥巴马提供他所需要的一些外交政策经验,带来她自己的银行捐助者,并很可能带动更多的州。

  特拉华州民主党、参议员卡帕(Thomas R. Carper)表示,他希望看到他们组成团队竞选。

  然而,奥巴马圈子显然有所忧惧。奥巴马承诺给华盛顿带来新面孔,凭借这一点吸引了众多注意力,然后却要求选民让另一位克林顿进入白宫(虽然是在第二的位置)。

  希拉里并非孤身前来;除了她自己的历史(以及大批不喜欢她的选民),她还携带着前总统克林顿。奥巴马可能认为克林顿的包袱超过他的政治技巧,特别是初选让克林顿的名声受损。

  而且竞选总统很大程度上是关于表现指挥权和权威。副总统选择进程的一条关键规则就是避免让人产生这样的感觉:他的决定要承受一个潜在竞选搭档的压力。

  温和民主党组织“第三条路”的联合创始人班尼特(Matt Bennett)表示,在这个点上选择希拉里是朝后看,而奥巴马完全是要向前看,要改变的。“他根本上是新品种的政治。选择希拉里显然是向后看,我认为他不想这样。”

  此外,一些民主党人认为,这个组合并非一加一大于二,而可能产生反效果,推开那些不愿意给非裔美国人投票和不愿意给妇女投票的选民。(作者 ADAM NAGOURNEY)

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/04/us/politics/04assess.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

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