Ad Astra Per Aspera 克林顿自传《My Life》

这句话的意思是,To the stars through the difficulties

My Life, Bill Clinton著,2004年Knopf出版社出版,1008页。

花了近两个月看完了克林顿的自传《My Life》。这本书和基辛格的回忆录都很长,但措辞和文笔没有基辛格的好,可见这个口才好的总统智商未必高,很多是流水账(总统期间叙事基本上是在说每个月做了哪些事)。全书按照时间顺序记录了他的童年、成长和执政,到2000年总统离任为止。前半部分颇为真诚,讲述他在阿肯色州这样一个南方穷州的生父、继父、祖父母和外公外婆生活以及幼年求学经历。后面大多是他在乔治敦大学学习、获得罗德奖学金去牛津求学、耶鲁大学学法律,然后回阿肯色州从政的过程。他30多岁就竞选当上了州长,46岁就成为美国历史上第三年轻的总统,离任时支持率历史最高。2005年美国在线票选的历史上最伟大的美国人中, 他排名第7。书中当然提到当年好多大事的前因后果,包括中东和平进程(他非常恨阿拉法特拖拖拉拉),波黑战争,艾滋病,人类基因组计划等等。

几乎像所有的政治人物自传一样,这本书也在为自己辩解,书中很大篇幅在讲自己在斗争恐怖主义方面的努力与贡献,大致是因为继任小布什政府911后对他执政没有干掉本拉登大肆攻击;他高明的地方是对自己的幕僚非常大度,在他们离任后全是褒奖,没有怨言;而且从不忌讳招自己熟的人或朋友做幕僚;对白水门事件、Ken Starr等人对自己的攻击和后来的弹劾也局限于党派斗争范围内;也坦陈自己在Gennifer Flowers、Monica Lewinsky上做了错事;虽然提到Paula Jones案,但从来没有述说这个案子的由来。他承认自己的生活不完美。本书的由来部分是由于克林顿欠下了太多风流债,需要付官司律师费,所以退位后玩命儿写书。后来还算成功,预授权就卖了1500万美元,总共卖出了200多万本,到2008年4月为止,这书和他后面的一本,已经给他赚了3000万美元。

Gennifer Flowers
Paula Jones这个最丑
Monica Lewinsky这个最赞

总的来说,克林顿醉心于征服(权力与美色),但在任期间虽无大功,也无大错,经济大发展,也为国际和平作出了一些贡献(北爱尔兰、中东、南斯拉夫),虽然他对这些地区的认识明显较为片面和肤浅,但仍不失为一个和平年代的好总统。多说一句,民主党的总统,因为亲民,所以大多擅长极具煽动性的演讲、非常有魅力,善于调动穷人、黑人、残疾人、文艺界等弱势群体的力量,如JFK、克林顿和奥巴马。

他的经济成就:书中屡次提到他靠打经济牌击败老布什总统当选(It’s the Economy, stupid!),在任8年期间经济大有气色,失业率低,最低工资水平提高,教育、卫生、环境保护事业大发展,政府开支减少,但除了他提到的几次与国会的预算斗争,控制利率,抨击供给侧改革,及他在拓展国际国内市场少有的几次着墨之外,几乎没解释他经济成功的原因是什么。也许只是国际环境稳定,民心所向,运气使然?

本书为什么没被翻译成中文?书中提到了他和江的几次会面,朱到美国访问(电视上他说给美国人民消消气,但没想到朱在克林顿实际上那么硬气,看克林顿的简短介绍,朱可能对他说,入不入WTO你们看着办,中国无所谓),美国轰炸南斯拉夫大使馆内幕(书里没提到F117,不过总统应该也有解密期),大和尚也提了一句,美国政府对中国最惠国待遇和入世的过程内幕。

看这种传记的好处之一是,鼓舞自己把每一天都当成将来要写进回忆录来过。

NRA:他痛恨校园、街道暴力,不过NRA在1996年中期选举时教他做人,奥巴马也没能搞定禁枪,看来这个商业团体的游说力量的确要命。

他也是一个爱总结爱思考的人,以下是书中一些人生智慧:

The question of secrets is one I’ve thought about a lot over the years. We all have them and I think we’re entitled to them. They make our lives more interesting, and when we decide to share them, our relationships become more meaningful. The place where secrets are kept can also provide a haven, a retreat from the rest of the world, where one’s identity can be shaped and reaffirmed, where being alone can bring security and peace. Still, secrets can be an awful burden to bear, especially if some sense of shame is attached to them, even if the source of shame is not the secret holder. Or the allure of our secrets can be too strong, strong enough to make us feel we can’t live without them, that we wouldn’t even be who we are without them.

尼采说过,There are no facts, only interpretations. 人的体会永远都是他自身经验的产物: in all its stark ugliness, people’s evaluations of it were inevitably a reflection of their own personal experiences, marked not only by their convictions, but also by their own fears, disappointments, and heartbreak.

做领导的不能情绪化,只顾自己的感受,要尽职尽责。

A man surprised is half beaten.

克林顿是个虔诚的浸信会教徒:To look for the best of people even they saw the worst in me; to be grateful for every day and greet it with a smile.

“Give respect before you expect it, treat people the way you want to be treated, remember the mission, set the example, keep going.”

let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

在西方搞政治就是要多跟人在一起,施加自己的影响力,是种体力活:Politics is a contact sport.

有些地方还挺幽默:Sometimes it had warm water.

Politics is show business for ugly people.

Never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

The two things people should never watch being made are sausages and laws. It’s ugly, and uncertain.

A book you couldn’t judge by its cover.

要有容人之量:One thing I liked about him was that he would tell me things I didn’t want to hear.

Felt comfortable bringing me bad news and disagreeing with me at meetings.

克林顿生父在他母亲怀孕3个月时就出车祸死了,他后来极其重视女儿,甚至为了多陪他,没有在42岁时就竞选总统:I know then being a father was the most important job I’d ever have.

当头儿要有主见,他提到一些大事不能靠当时的民意调查决策,民众选总统出来就是为他们的长远利益思考和决策的:One of the most important decisions a President has to make is when to take the advice of the people who work for him and when to reject it.

Politics is about compromise, and people expect Presidents to win, not posture for them.

People hire leaders to win for them, and it’s the results that matter.

好的政策需要好的政治来获得批准和实施。做好事也要讲究方式方法。

对人性的洞察:Everyone is for change in general, but against it when they themselves have to change.

Government is, by definition, imperfect and experimental, always a work in progress.

要勇敢去尝试:I always preferred failure in a worthy effort to inaction for fear of failure. 他从政之路的确不容易,虽然年纪轻就当选州长,不过这个州长是凭实力选出来的,他的竞选可谓努力;

谦虚:Life always humbles you if you give in to anger or take too much satisfaction in having defeated someone, or think that no matter how bad your own sins are, those of your adversaries are worse.

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