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Edward Kennedy爱德华·肯尼迪:肯尼迪家族的最后一人
Edward Kennedy

Last of the clan
Aug 26th 2009

Edward Kennedy, a liberal champion, has died. Who could fill the gap he has left?

BRAIN cancer, diagnosed last May, killed Edward Kennedy on Tuesday August 25th. America's liberal lion, famous in later years for his girth, his flushed face and his mane of white hair, had been ill and largely out of Senate action for months. But when he did appear, he was unafraid of linking what he called the biggest political issue of his life to his own circumstances. “Over the last year, I’ve seen our health-care system up close. I've benefited from the best of medicine, but I've also witnessed the frustration and outrage of patients and doctors alike as they face the challenges of a system that shortchanges millions of Americans,” he wrote in the Boston Globe. He was as keen as ever to join the fight for reform, but had to leave it to the man he so helpfully endorsed when he was just a hopeful senator from Illinois, Barack Obama.


Mr Kennedy's status stemmed mostly from being part of the Kennedy clan: the apparently charmed brothers, Robert, Edward and John. His brand of liberal politics was much closer to Robert's keen idealism (cruelly curtailed in 1968 as he campaigned for the Democratic nomination) than to JFK's more pragmatic style. Edward was sworn in as a senator in 1962 and, by comparison with his brothers, seemed colourless. But after Bobby's assassination, now the lone Kennedy remaining, his standing was such that the polls suggested the Democratic Party would win the election against Richard Nixon if he was included on the ticket. That was before an accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969, the death of the passenger in his car, Mary Jo Kopechne, and his own failure to explain what had happened, drew attention to his inability to cope in a crisis.

肯尼迪先生的地位大部分源于其显赫的家族:风流倜傥的三兄弟——罗伯特,爱德华,与约翰·肯尼迪。相较于约翰·肯尼迪务实的风格,爱德华代表的自由党派主义,与其兄罗伯特的激进的理想主义更为契合(1968年,罗伯特在民主党总统竞选提名途中被残忍刺杀)。爱德华1962年宣布就职参议员,相比光彩不及两位兄长。但罗伯特死后,作为肯尼迪家族的最后一个儿子,民意调查显示如果爱德华提名竞选,他很有可能战胜尼克松赢得大选。此后发生于1969年的Chappaquiddick岛事件——一位名叫Mary Jo Kopechne的女士死在爱德华的私人专车上,而他又无法对此作出解释,暴露了其无法应对突发事件的弱点。

That incident took some recovering from, both personally and politically. But Mr Kennedy became a vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam, and a champion of the poor. (He described his vote against authorising the Iraq war as “the best vote I have ever cast” in the Senate.) He was also arguably the last in a long line of “fighting liberal” urban politicians from the mid-20th century such as Estes Kefauver, Adlai Stevenson, Edmund Muskie, George McGovern and Paul Wellstone: men who refused to compromise or triangulate in the Clinton style, and who made no apology for their beliefs.

这次事件对爱德华,无论从政界或个人名誉上,都有着很大影响。但很快他加入到声援反对越战,以及帮助穷人的队伍中(他将自己在伊拉克战争问题上投下的反对一票称为自己参议生涯中最明智的一票)。他也是具有争议的上个世纪中期拒绝妥协与克林顿执政风格,并对自己的政治理念不做任何辩解的城市“自由主义斗士”政治家队伍中的一员——其他成员包括Estes Kefauver, Adlai Stevenson, Edmund Muskie, George McGovern和Paul Wellstone。

Mr Kennedy's own run for the White House came in 1980. The liberal fighter stormed all the way to the floor of the Democratic convention that year to try to wrest the nomination from Jimmy Carter, a sitting president. Some still think the damage done then proved fatal to Mr Carter in the general election in November, which was won by Ronald Reagan. But Mr Kennedy did great damage to his own campaign when he gave a television interview after the Iranian revolution in which he tore into the deposed Shah of Iran for stealing “umpteen billion dollars”. The revolutionaries hailed him as their champion. A New York tabloid ran the headline “Teddy is the Toast of Tehran”. Uncompromising liberalism of that sort may never be seen again in American politics. In his later career, though, Mr Kennedy forged bipartisan coalitions to push for legislation he supported. He and George Bush became almost friendly during the president's push for education and immigration reform.

肯尼迪先生的总统选举生涯始于1980年。这只自由之狮想要扳倒时任总统Jimmy Carter,赢得竞选提名的举动完全震惊了民主党代表大会上下。一些人依然确信,当时旨在扳倒卡特的证据对其在十一月的大选中有着致命的影响,从而帮助了里根赢得了选举。但肯尼迪先生也搬过石头砸自己的脚,在竞选活动中,他曾在一次电视访谈中,公开攻击当时伊朗革命之后,已被废黜的伊朗王,指责其侵吞了“数以亿计的美元”。而后,肯尼迪先生受到了伊朗国内革命党人的追捧。一家纽约小报刊登了一篇名为“泰迪(爱德华小名),德黑兰的骄傲”的文章。强硬的自由主义行为可能很难再看到了。在他的晚期政治生涯中,肯尼迪推动了两党联合,以加快他所倡导改革的领域的立法。他甚至一度在布什推进教育和移民领域改革时期,与其交往甚好。

A special election in Massachusetts will find a replacement for Mr Kennedy. It seems likely to be won by a Democrat. The state is historically and reliably Democratic, and Mr Kennedy’s many adoring voters can hardly be expected to vote for a Republican in the midst of the health-care and other debates. The seat matters. Until it is filled, the Democrats will lack the crucial 60 senators needed to break a filibuster. As for who will run, that is less certain.


Mr Kennedy wanted his wife, Vicky, to succeed him. But the Kennedy family seems to be something of a spent force. Teddy was the last of the greats. His niece, Caroline Kennedy, failed in her quasi-campaign to be appointed to Hillary Clinton’s vacated Senate seat in New York. No other member of that generation has the stature of the idolised brothers.

肯尼迪先生一直希望自己的妻子,维基,能接任他。但肯尼迪家族似乎已是一股过气的政治力量。泰迪一是家族中的最后一位人物。他的外甥女Caroline Kennedy在竞选因希拉里·克林顿就任国务卿空缺的纽约州参议员席的首轮即失败。其他的同辈人都无法媲比肯尼迪三兄弟当年的明星政治家的地位。

Outside the clan, a leading candidate would be Barney Frank, also from Massachusets, a less glamorous, slightly more bruising version of Mr Kennedy in the House. (He recently energised sullen Democrats by asking a questioner who compared Mr Obama to Hitler “On what planet do you spend most of your time?”) Mr Frank is also the first openly gay member of Congress. No other figure is a household name. Late in his illness, Mr Kennedy requested a change in the law so that the (Democratic) governor, Deval Patrick, could quickly name his replacement. But even that change would have to wait until the Massachusetts legislature comes back in the second week of September.

家族之外,首当其冲的是,也是来自马萨诸塞州的,Barney Frank,一个不那么光彩夺目,貌似“淤青版”肯尼迪的众议员(最近出现了一个将奥巴马比作希特勒的人,而B. Frank以一个反问“你大部分时间是呆在那个星球”活跃了疲软的民主党),Frank也是第一位公开自己同性恋身份的众议员。再没有比“肯尼迪”更家喻户晓的名字了,在病中晚期,肯尼迪先生曾要求民主党州长Deval Patrick更改立法,好让能尽快任命他的继任者。但这个更改要求也要等到马塞诸塞州立法机构到9月份第二个星期的反馈。

In the meantime, not only is Massachusetts short of one senator; the Democratic Party in Congress is without a liberal anchor. The leaders in both houses of Congress, Nancy Pelosi in the House and Harry Reid in the Senate, are unpopular and widely criticised. But Mr Kennedy, despite his pugnacious liberal reputation, wrote many bills with Republican colleagues, too. No member of the party’s left has that ability to bang out a deal across the aisle. Mr Kennedy, both adored and loathed as a personality, was a prolific legislator. His will be a hard act to follow.

在此期间,不仅马塞诸塞州将缺少一位参议员,国会的民主党中也将缺少一位自由派舵手。两院政党领导人——众议院的Nancy Pelosi和参议员的Harry Reid——都广受批评。尽管好斗的自由派名声在外,但肯尼迪先生也为共和党同仁递交了很多的法案。没有一个政党的左翼人士有能力极快地递交一份协定。性格极其争议的肯尼迪先生却是一个多产的立法者。对于继任者,他将是一个不容易效仿的角色。
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