“The Passage of Power,” the fourth installment of Robert Caro’s brilliant series on Lyndon Johnson, spans roughly five years, beginning shortly before the 1960 presidential contest, including the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis and other seminal events of the Kennedy years, and ending a few months after the awful afternoon in Dallas that elevated L.B.J. to the presidency.
《权力通道》，是精彩绝伦的林登·约翰逊系列传记《林登·约翰逊时代》(The Years of Lyndon Johnson)的第四卷，由罗伯特·卡罗撰写。本书涉及的时间跨度大约是五年，始于1960年总统选举之前不久，内容包括猪湾事件、古巴导弹危机和其他一些肯尼迪时期的重大事件，最终落笔于肯尼迪不幸在达拉斯遇刺身亡、约翰逊接任总统之后的最初几个月。
Among the most interesting and important episodes Caro chronicles are those involving the new president’s ability to maneuver bills out of legislative committees and onto the floor of the House and Senate for a vote. One of those bills would later become the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
卡罗记载了诸多历史细节，其中最妙趣横生且至关重要的部分，涉及到这位新总统推动国会立法委员会将数个法律草案炮制出来、并付诸两院投票的能力。其中的一项草案在后来成为了1964年签署的《民权法案》（Civil Rights Act）。
You don’t have to be a policy wonk to marvel at the political skill L.B.J. wielded to resuscitate a bill that seemed doomed to never get a vote on the floor of either chamber. Southern Democrats were masters at bottling up legislation they hated, particularly bills expanding civil rights for black Americans. Their skills at obstruction were so admired that the newly sworn-in Johnson was firmly counseled by an ally against using the political capital he’d inherited as a result of the assassination on such a hopeless cause.
According to Caro, Johnson responded, “Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?”
This is the question every president must ask and answer. For Lyndon Johnson in the final weeks of 1963, the presidency was for two things: passing a civil rights bill with teeth, to replace the much weaker 1957 law he’d helped to pass as Senate majority leader, and launching the War on Poverty. That neither of these causes was in fact hopeless was clear possibly only to him, as few Americans in our history have matched Johnson’s knowledge of how to move legislation, and legislators.
It’s wonderful to watch Johnson’s confidence catch fire and spread to the shellshocked survivors of the Kennedy administration as it dawned on them that the man who was once Master of the Senate would now be a chief executive with more ability to move legislation through the House and Senate than just about any other president in history. Johnson’s fire spread outward until it touched the entire country during his first State of the Union address. The words were written by Kennedy’s speechwriter Ted Sorensen, but their impact would be felt in the magic L.B.J. worked over the next seven weeks.
很有意思的一件事是观察约翰逊的自信心如何日益高涨。他逐渐影响到那些仍处于震惊之中的肯尼迪政府幸存者，使他们开始意识到，这位曾经的"议院大师"（Master of the Senate）成为新任最高行政官员之后，所具备的推动参众两院立法的能力超过了历史上任何一任总统。约翰逊的这种信心蔓延到了外界，并最终在他第一次做国情咨文演讲时感染了整个国家。咨文由肯尼迪的文胆泰德·索伦森（Ted Sorensen）起草，但是它的影响力将在接下来的七周里由约翰逊施展的魔法来实现。
Exactly how L.B.J. did it was perfectly captured later by Hubert Humphrey — the man the president chose as his vote counter for the civil rights bill and his Senate proxy to carve its passage.
Humphrey said Johnson “knew just how to get to me.”
In sparkling detail, Caro shows the new president’s genius for getting to people — friends, foes and everyone in between — and how he used it to achieve his goals. We’ve all seen the iconic photos of L.B.J. leaning into a conversation, poking his thick finger into a confidant’s chest or wrapping his long arm around a shoulder. At 6 foot 4, he towered over most men, but even seated Johnson commanded from on high. Caro relates how during a conversation about civil rights, he placed Roy Wilkins and his N.A.A.C.P. entourage on one of the couches in the Oval Office, yet still towered over them as he sat up close in his rocking chair. And he didn’t need to be in the same room — he was great at manipulating, cajoling and even bullying over the phone.
卡罗用熠熠生辉的细节描述了这位新总统在说服他人方面的天才能力，不论对象是朋友、宿敌、还是这两极之间的人，以及他如何运用这种能力来达到自己的目的。我们都看过那些约翰逊的标志性照片，他在谈话中身体前倾，将他的厚手指戳向倾诉对象的胸膛，或用长臂搂住别人的肩膀。约翰逊身高六英尺四英寸（1.93米），所以面对大多数人他都处在一个居高临下的位置。即便是坐着的时候，他仿佛同样高高在上。卡罗写道，在一次关于民权的谈话中，约翰逊让罗伊·威尔金斯（Roy Wilkins）及其全美有色人种促进协会（N.A.A.C.P.，即National Association for the Advancement of Colored People）的随行人员坐在白宫椭圆形办公室的一张大沙发上，而他即便紧挨着他们坐在一张摇椅上，仍然给人一种渊渟岳峙的感觉。他甚至都无需和别人共处一室，仅仅通过电话，他就能很好地操控、劝诱甚至欺凌他们。
He knew just how to get to you, and he was relentless in doing it.
If you were a partisan, he’d call on your patriotism; if a traditionalist, he’d make his proposal seem to be the Establishment choice. His flattery was minutely detailed, finely tuned and perfectly modulated. So was his bombast — whatever worked. L.B.J. didn’t kiss Sam Rayburn’s ring, but his lips did press against his bald head. Harry Byrd received deference and attention. When L.B.J. became president, he finally had the power to match his political skills.
如果你是坚定的党派人士，他会召唤你的爱国心；如果你是守旧派，他会将自己的计划装点成主流势力的选择。他对人的恭维细致入微、基调精准、控制得当，他的豪言壮语亦是如此，不论手段，只要能起作用就行。虽然约翰逊没有亲吻萨姆·雷伯恩（Sam Rayburn）的戒指，不过他的双唇确曾触到雷伯恩的光头。而哈里·伯德（Harry Byrd）得到了他的尊重和重视。当约翰逊成为总统时，他终于拥有了与其政治技巧相匹配的权力。
The other remarkable part of this volume covers the tribulation before the triumphs: the lost campaign and the interminable years as vice president, in which L.B.J.’s skills were stymied and his power was negligible. He had little to do, less to say, and no defense against the indignities the Kennedys’ inner circle heaped on him. The Master of the Senate may have become its president, but in title only. He might have agreed with his fellow Texan John Nance Garner, F.D.R.’s vice president, who famously described the office as “not worth a bucket of warm spit.”
本卷书另一个卓越之处在于描述了约翰逊胜利之前的种种磨难：竞选的失败，以及作为副总统的那段能力被限制、权力被剥夺的悠长岁月。他无事可做，无话可说，面对肯尼迪核心圈子成员对他的轻慢无计可施。"议院大师"也许已经成了参议院的议长，但这仅仅是名义上的 。（译者注：美国副总统同时兼任参议院议长一职，但该职位早已成为一种荣誉职位，并无实权。）他可能非常同意德克萨斯州同仁、罗斯福总统的副手约翰·南斯·加纳（John Nance Garner）关于副总统一职的著名论断，即"一文不值"。
Caro paints a vivid picture of L.B.J.’s misery. We can feel Johnson’s ambition ebb, and believe with him that his political life was over, as he was shut out of meetings, unwelcome on Air Force One, mistrusted and despised by Robert Kennedy. While in Congress he may not have been universally admired among the Washington elite, and was even mocked by them as a bit of a rube. But he had certainly never been pitied. In the White House, he invented reasons to come to the outskirts of the Oval Office in the mornings, where he was rarely welcome, and made sure his presence was noted by Kennedy’s staff. Even if they did not respect him, he wasn’t going to let anyone forget him.
Then tragedy changed everything. Within hours of President Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson was sworn in as president, without the pomp of an inauguration, but with all the powers of the office. At first he was careful in wielding them. He didn’t move into the Oval Office for days, running the executive branch from Room 274 in the Executive Office Building. The family didn’t move into the White House residence until Dec. 7. But soon enough, it would become clear that the power Johnson had grasped for his entire life was finally his.
As Caro shows in this and his preceding volumes, power ultimately reveals character. For L.B.J., becoming president freed him to embrace parts of his past that, for political or other reasons, had remained under wraps. Suddenly there was no longer a reason to dissociate himself from the poverty and failure of his childhood. Power released the source of Johnson’s humanity.
Last year I was privileged to speak at the funeral of Sargent Shriver — a man who served L.B.J. but who in many ways was his temperamental opposite. I said then that too many of us spend too much time worrying about advancement or personal gain at the expense of effort. We might fail, but we need to get caught trying. That was Shriver’s great virtue. With Johnson’s election he actually had the chance to try and to win.
Even as Barry Goldwater was midwifing the antigovernment movement that would grow to such dominance decades later, L.B.J., Shriver and other giants of the civil rights and antipoverty movements seemed to rise all around me as I was beginning my political involvement. They believed government had an essential part to play in expanding civil rights and reducing poverty and inequality. It soon became clear that hearts needed to be changed, along with laws. Not just Congress, but the American people themselves needed to be got to.
It was hard to do, absent a crisis like the losses of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. By the late 1960s, America’s increasing involvement and frustration in Vietnam, the rise of more militant civil rights leaders and riots in many cities, and the end of broad-based economic growth that had indeed “lifted all boats” in the early ’60s, made it harder and harder to win more converts to the civil rights and antipoverty causes.
在没有出现某些危机的情况下，例如失去肯尼迪总统、马丁·路德·金（Martin Luther King）和罗伯特·肯尼迪，这样做很困难。到了二十世纪六十年代晚期，美国日益陷入越南这个泥潭，更加好战的民权领袖逐步崛起、许多城市发生了骚乱，六十年代前期使得人们生活普遍"水涨船高"的广泛性经济增长业已终结，这些都使得在民权和反贫困方面赢得更多民心越来越困难。
But for a few brief years, Lyndon Johnson, once a fairly conventional Southern Democrat, constrained by his constituents and his overriding hunger for power, rose above his political past and personal limitations, to embrace and promote his boyhood dreams of opportunity and equality for all Americans. After all the years of striving for power, once he had it, he said to the American people, “I’ll let you in on a secret — I mean to use it.” And use it he did to pass the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the open housing law, the antipoverty legislation, Medicare and Medicaid, Head Start and much more.
有那么短短几年，林登·约翰逊，这位曾经相当寻常的南方民主党人，一个极度渴望权力却处处受限的人，超越了他的政治过往和个体局限，拥抱并推升了他孩提时的梦想，即将机会和平等带给所有美国人。经过长年对权力的追求，一旦他拥有了权力，他对美国人民说："我告诉你们一个秘密----我打算使用它。"而且他确实使用了这个权力来通过《民权法案》、《选举权法》（Voting Rights Act）、开放住房的法律、反贫穷的立法、医疗保险（Medicare）和医疗补助（Medicaid）计划、启智学前教育计划（Head Start）等等。
He knew what the presidency was for: to get to people — to members of Congress, often with tricks up his sleeve; to the American people, by wearing his heart on his sleeve.
Even when we parted company over the Vietnam War, I never hated L.B.J. the way many young people of my generation came to. I couldn’t. What he did to advance civil rights and equal opportunity was too important. I remain grateful to him. L.B.J. got to me, and after all these years, he still does. With this fascinating and meticulous account of how and why he did it, Robert Caro has once again done America a great service.