'Daily Show' writer Kevin Bleyer on why he rewrote the Constitution
Author Kevin Bleyer thinks the U.S. Constitution needs a reboot.
Bleyer, a writer for "The Daily Show," offers a witty history lesson on how the founding document came to be in his new book "Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America," and explains why he's the perfect person to modernize it.
In the book, Bleyer, 40, of the Upper East Side, suggests some new amendments -- congratulations, by the way: You're now a member of Congress -- and recommends how we should pick our presidents.
amNewYork spoke with Bleyer about the book.
Why write about the constitutional convention? As people from all the sides of the political spectrum -- right and left, tea partyers and left wingers -- were citing the Constitution quite a bit the last few years and using it for their ends, I thought, "Let's remind everyone what's actually in it." Perhaps that's something the founders would applaud -- bringing more attention to it.
Are Americans not paying enough attention to the Constitution? So few people actually remember ever reading it. More Americans can name the Three Stooges than can name the three branches of government.
So you decided to rewrite it? Haven't you ever wanted to rewrite the Constitution? I bet you have. I finally pulled the trigger on it.
In your version, every American would become a member of Congress. Why? If one of our problems with Congress is that we hold it in so low regard and another problem with Congress is that we feel like they cater to special interests that may not be our own, one way to mathematically solve that is to make everyone a congressman at birth.
You also want us to randomly pick our next president. Obviously you're not going to end up with someone who finds his way all the way to the presidency without actually having proven that he is interested -- it ain't gonna happen. But we know two things about our presidents historically: we kind of prefer when they are reluctant saviors [and] we prefer for them to be average Joes. The only way we can make sure that they're both reluctant and average is to pick them randomly. Do I actually mean that? Comically, of course I mean that.
What did you find during your research for the book? It was a rollicking, madcap craziness that you almost couldn't make up. We understood they were debating what was actually going to be the constitution, but we don't really know the degree to which they were at each other's throats . . . The most surprising thing was just how desperate the delegates were to get the thing done.