Who would write the new constitution? 10 Aug 2005

102 comments Latest by jack

Assuming the US needed a new constitution, who are the top few living people you’d like to see help draft it? I’ll throw out a few for starters… Christopher Alexander, John McCain, Jerry Brown, Peggy Noonan, Ralph Nader, Judith Sheindlin, Christopher Hitchens, Dean Kamen, Harold E. Ford, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Bill Clinton, Alan Simpson, Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Chris Matthews, Alan Keyes, Brian Greene, Joel Osteen, Meg Whitman, plus 5 randomly chosen citizens.

102 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Matt 10 Aug 05

Yikes - How about we get them all on Oprah and have Dr. Phil help them “get real”

Thank God that this is not something we really have to consider as happening. We are very fortunate to have had the very smart men we had write the Constitution that protects us and guides us.

Fred 10 Aug 05

Is Christopher Hitchens even an American citizen? Chris Matthews?? Maybe Daryl Hammond playing Chris Matthews. I’d add Bill Maher, Robert Kennedy Jr., and Steve-O.

Fine James 10 Aug 05

Mike Tyson

Jeff Croft 10 Aug 05

Heh. Interesting topic!

Well, the two that came to my head straight away were Barack Obama and Steve Jobs, but I see you beat me to them.

Fred: do you believe that a person should have to be a US citizen to work on the constitution? I don’t know if there are any laws about this, but I certainly don’t think it should be a necessity.

When it was all done and written, I’d want Mark Simonson to typeset it and Joe Clark to proof it for accessibility.

Finally, Shaun Inman should put it on the web and Paul Scrivens should write a blog post about how much it sucks. :)

Rick 10 Aug 05

Neal Boortz.

David Mackay 10 Aug 05

You’d need someone who can really write, too — part of the beauty of the current constitution is its poetry. So, how about Bill Safire?

JF 10 Aug 05

Great call on the poetry, David.

Tom 10 Aug 05

This is honestly the scariest post I’ve read in a while, if not my whole entire life. See, if you were random idiot #127 or something I wouldn’t so much mind it, but having read the blog long enough to know your reasonably intelligent, it gives me a chill to see that
(a) you have so little respect for the intelligence of our founding fathers and (b) you have so limited an understanding of how government works.

First, let’s get something straight, planning a constitution requires a pretty good knowledge of governmental theory. A guy who is great at string theory or a woman who runs a great auction site will probably lack the required knowledge to be all that helpful. Two, having charisma isn’t exactly the best qualifier either, I’ll give you Bill Clinton being he was the President and all, but can you tell me one brilliant thought that has come out of Barack Obama? I doubt it since he’s basically your garden variety Democrat who just happens to give a great speech. Don’t even get me started on Alan Keyes, you can be for or against abortion but to claim that abortion is the “genocide of blacks” disqualifies you from Constitution writing as far as I’m concerned.

Which leads us to Steve Jobs, a guy who fires people if they can’t justify their existence in an elevator ride? Yes, he’s who I want responsible for the Bill of Rights. Oh, and finally, 5 random citizens because it wouldn’t be enough just to try to pick the best and the brightest people, let’s be completely P.C. about this and pick 5 potential losers off the street. Yeesh.

I know you meant the post at least partially in jest but its still pretty terrifying stuff as far as I’m concerned. Craziest darn list I’ve ever seen, I swear to God.

Anonymous Coward 10 Aug 05

Umm, Tom, many of the Founding Fathers were never in politics before they convened to write these great documents. They were soldiers, farmers, inventors, shopkeepers.

Anonymous Coward 10 Aug 05

And one other thing Tom, this is a government of the people and by the people. To say that the best and brightest are the only ones that should be involved in such an important root document is being, how should I put it, disgustingly elitist. It should be balanced and include people with different perspectives from different walks of life. Not just lawyers, constitutional theorists, and people from academia.

Swati 10 Aug 05

I don’t know about Clinton, but I second Nader.

Anonymous Coward 10 Aug 05

Put down the crack pipe people

Alderete 10 Aug 05

Tim O’Reilly.

Justin 10 Aug 05

To be sure, Kamen and Jobs are highly creative and intelligent men whose inventions continue to change the way we conduct our lives. But I doubt their respective visions translate from commerce to national governance. An excerpt from Jobs’s Stanford commencement address:

“Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

Great, trite advice for young adults — Dead Poets Society, buck tradition, “stay hungry,” and all. $20 says one of the graduating seniors wrote the same sentiments in his admissions essay. Again, Jobs is a commercial genius, but I hesitate to place him beside Franklin, Hamilton, Madison, Washington, and Jefferson.

Jon Stewart, on the other hand…

Jeff Croft 10 Aug 05

Tom-

Two words: Lighten up.

Anonymous Coward 10 Aug 05

Zeldman. Nice guy.

Simon Jessey 10 Aug 05

Steve Jobs? Are you kidding me? Why not throw in Bill Gates? I think “Tom”, who posted earlier, is probably a better bet than Steve Jobs.

Wesley Walser 10 Aug 05

If the US needed a new constitution we would never get one. That would be the biggest nightmare of all time.

I will go ahead and say Bush Jr. (sr. comes with the package of course)

Tom 10 Aug 05


Anonymous #2: Two things, one modern day government theory didn’t exist back then but if you do research you’ll find that almost every one of the founding fathers had studied past forms of government. You assume they had our mindset, which is to think very little about systems of government because we already have one when, in fact, types of government was a hot topic of the time and was debated openly and often.

Two, learn what elitist means because you clearly don’t know. Being one of the “Best and the Brightest” can be achieved by anyone who is smart and willing to work hard, elite or otherwise. Assuming that people should be entrusted with the future of the country simply because they exist is stupid (what if Random person #3 decides all blacks and gays should be kicked out?).

Anonymous #2: No one mentioned Marion Barry (Thank God)

Jeff Croft: Two Words: Fuc…No, No, I kid…But seriously, I did say in my post that I knew the post was in partial jest but I’m assuming everyone here really are suggesting the names put forth and that’s scary.

Anonymous Coward 10 Aug 05

Tom where are your names?

Paul 10 Aug 05

This post reminds me of the Protagoras (and Alcibiades I.)

Is a cross-section of society (ie. 5 random citizens and scientists, businessmen, etc) really the best educated to mold such an important document? The argument is presented by Plato in the form of “who taught all of these people the nature of virtue?”

The answer: “society teaches virtue, and punishes dissent.” It’s odd how, through a cross-section of society, we would choose those who we have also taught to teach us virtue.

I second the nomination for Judge Judy, though.

Castlan 10 Aug 05

John Taylor Gatto.
Or we could just reaffirm Thomas Jefferson, and his original 12 item bill of rights. Damnit, he was a thoughtful fellow. All later laws and precedents set that conflict whatsoever with that needs to be repealed or struck down.
But Gatto seems honest, trustworthy, and concerned. I’d prefer to meet the guy first, of course. But I never met Jefferson or Franklin, so what the hell, why not? Okay, if not then Lessig would be pretty good. If it must be from the list, then Kamen. 5 random people is pretty risky with a damaged (brainwashed) population. Maybe 5 people who don’t watch the Television. But not me.

Tony 10 Aug 05

Jimmy Carter?

kc 10 Aug 05

I think it’s hysterical that you put Joel on the list. I would have never thought of him in answer to your question, but it’s not a bad idea.

Ryan Latham 10 Aug 05

I’m going to go ahead and say Serj Tankian of System of a Down. Though that is probably a bad choice based on the means he conveys his thoughts in his lyrics (very hidden and makes people think) it seems like a good choice.

He seems to have his head on straight enough as to where I know he would throw in some things such as legalized pot…but I think the rest would be golden.

I do agree with Jeff; this is very interesting. I chose a musician because I wouldn’t want a politician tackling this task; I’d rather have a critical thinker, an outside thinker and someone with morals as opposed to some sliemball politician writing in some revenue generating scheme.

And I am fully for the idea of chopping off any politicians balls who blatantly robs my state, Ohio, of any money to use for personal gains. Governor Taft I am looking in your direction.

Tom 11 Aug 05

Anonymous: First, let me just say there are people who actually study government and that we send to other countries to help form new governments so I would probably pick them. But since the topic is really “famous people you’d pick” here’s my quick list (there’s probably more but I wrote this quick)

George W. Bush and Bill Clinton just because I feel both are intelligent men and because I think you’d need people who have seen government from the top down (Plus, Ford wasn’t elected, Carter’s a crazy failure, Reagan’s dead and George H.W. Bush is a wussie)

I think some thoughtful politicians (being their job is government) would be good. People like Joe Liberman and Bob Dole (someone who is what McCain claims to be would be nice but McCain’s just likes the media and will do anything to get on camera)

Dennis Prager, whose a little more conservative than I’d prefer but he’s a deep think and a philosopher and you’d need both.

Colin Powell for his balanced views and his military experience

John Stewart and Dave Barry both because they’re comedians (if you want to avoid absurd governments get people that study the absurdity of government) and they seem be men who think seriously about the issues.

Alan Greenspan, Bob Brinker and Lou Dobbs because, if your going to make a government, you should have good economists on hand to tell you how the government you create will effect the economy

Libertarian Larry Elder because you should have a talk show host (because they talk to the people every day) and he’s the least crazy one I can think of (off-hand)

Paul Harvey because every group needs an elder statesman and I can think of very few better than a man who has watched and reported the news every day for over half a century

Finally, Aaron Sorkin simply because Thomas Jefferson was a great writer but he’s dead and Sorkin’s the next best thing.

Tom 11 Aug 05

Tom,
If the U.S. conducted elections based on Carter’s guidlines, there would be no talk of ballot problems in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. He has also done great work throughout the third-world, combatind desease and monitoring elections.

Seems like a fine candidate for a constitutional committee. Certainly better than someone on your list who can’t string a sentence together to save his life and cares vary little for civil and human rights.

Tony 11 Aug 05

Doh! that last one was me. It’s late here, and I apparently put Tom for my name instead of Tony…

Dan Boland 11 Aug 05

What’s ironic is that the Founding Fathers didn’t have the legal authority to ratify the Constitution in the first place.

Anonymous75 11 Aug 05

Will there be wifi at said convention?

Also, if I could throw a vote in for someone who is unfortunately not here anymore: Paul Wellstone.

Anonymous Coward 11 Aug 05

Take another hit on the bong, people. :D

Bryan 11 Aug 05

Joel Osteen? Well, I have nothing against the guy, but what ever happened to the separation between church and state?

Stuart 11 Aug 05

If you (the US) were to write a constitution in this day and age it would be a 10,00 page document of mediocrity and compromise. I mean, have you seen the European Constitution?

Too sad, but the days of ideology have passed.

Eric 11 Aug 05

Me.

Alex King 11 Aug 05

Joel Osteen? Well, I have nothing against the guy, but what ever happened to the separation between church and state?

Well, no matter what you think about the Founding Father’s beliefs, you can’t deny that a whole lot of them had seminary degrees.

Michael 11 Aug 05

Good god, what an ugly group of people. What about choosing some libertarians. Gary Becker, Dave Barry, Richard Branson, Eric Raymond, Art Bell, Trey Parker, Ron Paul, and many others. I would hate to see power whores like Hilary Clinton, John McCain, Alan Keyes, or George Bush write our constitution.

Peter Cooper 11 Aug 05

You should have a Constitution Wiki and let the people edit it!

Larry 11 Aug 05

I think we as a country should concentrate on making sure that we are following the constituion that WE HAVE.
Some people already think that our constiution is a ‘living document’, so what would be the point of writing a new one? Currently, a judge can legislate his or her own opinion from the bench anyways. So if you want to change the constitution, go to law school and become a judge.

Anonymous Coward 11 Aug 05

Clearly: Sting, Bono, and Richard Branson! Our founding fathers were British, so we should have some too.

Stephen 11 Aug 05

This question is so absurd. Why would it need a new one? The climate would have to be different, thus these people wouldn’t be known-names. The question can’t be answered so absurdly out of context. The answer would depend on what state the States are in.

The important part is what goes in, not who writes it. Liberal democracies have a lot of consensus here - free press, freedom of speech, seperation of powers, seperation of church and state. These would have to go in unless you wanted to be a pariah on the world stage (*cough*). The details left are the federal set up, taxes, parliamentary houses, etc. Do you know where any of these people stand on these? Or would you pick Jobs because you like his shirt?

Matt 11 Aug 05

Holy Moly…

I used to love this blog… Full of insightful comments and suggestions about great design, and interesting links to more of the same.

However, the ratio of interesting posts to ridiculous self-aggrandizement and blatant self-promotion is dropping precipitously..

And now, juvenile posts like this? C’mon… Chris Matthews?

Focus, team. Focus.

Anonymous Coward 11 Aug 05

Does the first person to say “Jason Fried” get a plate of brownies?

Chris 11 Aug 05

Emeril!

Chris S 11 Aug 05

It couldn’t be done. You’d never top the old one, and never get it ratified. None of those people in the list could hold a candle to the originals. They ain’t qualified to hold Jefferson’s jock.

It isn’t simply about being smart. It isn’t simply about being edumacated.

The problem is that the Constitution was ratified by a group of like-minded people who had just paid the price of securing their liberty.

Most, if not all, of the people in that list would rather tighten the leash around the people and use the government to “help” people by limiting the freedoms the originals shed blood to guarantee.

Clay Johnson 11 Aug 05

Alan Keyes and Obama can’t be in the same room. Keyes told Obama he had the “slaveholder’s view” on abortion. I tend to think Keyes is a little bit wacko for that.

Howard Dean’s populist message would be a good addition to this. Despite the media’s take on the scream, the man was really a moderate. Another good one would be Lee Iococca.

Harold E. Ford? He comes from one of the most corrupt families in Tennessee? You’re nuts. And with Christopher Hitchens in the room, nothing would get accomplished. You need to not only think of the talent of each individual, but also how they will work together.

I’d put Tom Vilsack (heartlandpac.org) in with this crowd too. He’s focused on bringing in new ideas into government, and has a centrist, populist message.

And Aaron Sorkin— the drugged up writer of the west wing, is nothing but today’s Thomas Jefferson.

Jim Menard 11 Aug 05

Corey Doctorow

Anonymous Coward 11 Aug 05

Canada.

Anonymous Reader 11 Aug 05

Poetic justice would say the Iraqis and the Haitians and some South Americans where we’ve meddled in, no?

I guess a few of my choices would include Amitai Etzioni, Alan Dershowitz, Vincent Bugliosi, Harry Belefonte, Coretta Scott King, and journalist Robert Fisk.

There was a large group of people at the first Congressional Congress I believe, so it would need to be a cross-section of individuals representative of the US citizens, not corporations though.

And also a representative from France, Australia, South America, South Africa, and Haiti.

Btw, here’s TR’s “Bull Moose” party platform from 1912. It’s an interesting read.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/showplatforms.php?platindex=P1912

Btw, this was a great question.

Have a great day all.

A. Reader

Gun-Toting Libertarian 11 Aug 05

If by “new constitution” you mean “new revision of the Communist Manifesto,” then yes, this is a good group to write it.

Chris S 11 Aug 05

“If by “new constitution” you mean “new revision of the Communist Manifesto,” then yes, this is a good group to write it.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

JF 11 Aug 05

Thanks for posting the Bull Moose party platform. Fascinating and inspirational.

Unearthed Ruminator 11 Aug 05

I think Thomas Jeffereson would be surprised that we haven’t rewritten the consitution already….

My list would include…

Colin Powell
Jimmy Carter
Ted Koppel
Walter Cronkite
George Stephanopolis
Bill Cosby
John Stewart
Gary Trudeau
Aaron McGruder
Wil Wheaton

and, of course, myself…

Carl 11 Aug 05

Are we that afraid of ourselves that we cringe at the idea of including 5 random citizens in the process of rewriting the government for the citizens? To me that’s the scariest part of some of the comments here.

Dave Simon 11 Aug 05

I hope it would never come to this. I mean, look how divisive and mean to each other people STILL are because of the election 5 years ago!

I think what you were trying to do was to get some diversity of viewpoints, and in that, you chose Keyes and Obama, etc. I’ve met Keyes and seen him speak. He is a very intelligent man. But he’s also a bit scary for me. Way to out on the right side. Obama impressed me with his speaking ability, but other than that, I don’t know much about him.

I’m impressed that you remembered old Alan Simpson of Wyoming. Very soft spoken and intelligent guy. Very tall guy, too. (Not that it matters, just a point of fact.) I met him when I was probably 12 and then again when I was 15, and he remembered me. That amazed me, considering I was just a kid from Montana at a dinner with my parents. (He probably remembered my dad and then went from there.)

I think it’s awfully hard these days for people to be as farsighted as the Founders. They weren’t thinking about a single issue (other than freedom) when they went into it, and they weren’t thinking of immediate results. That’s why it’s held up so well in 200+ years.

But if I had to add to this list, I would suggest Marc Racicot, former Governor of Montana and Mayor Rudy Guiliani from the “right” side. And Sen. Zell Miller.

From the “left” I would suggest Sen. Joe Lieberman, for one.

I like the suggestion of putting some Libertarians in there. Although I would think it would be their job to suggest keeping the Constitution as-is and actually following it.

Brian Ford 11 Aug 05

I’m just not sure it could be done in the way it was done the first time.

I honestly can’t begin to think of someone I would pick.

However, I think Plato can shed some light on the issue. (I believe this came from him.) The only people who would be qualified to rewrite the constitution wouldn’t want to do it.

Lastly, I have to agree that 5 random citizens stands a 99% chance of backfiring.

Oh, and Tom: George W. Bush -may- be smart… but he doesn’t seem to show it when it matters.

Scott 11 Aug 05

Anonymous (between Larry and Mark): Bono is Irish, not British.

The people best qualified to write a hypothetical new constitution are people you probably don’t know the names of. Most famous people are famous not because of their great minds or achievements, but because they compromised some of their integrity for that fame. Brilliant minds exist as the heads of local PTAs, small town mayors, successful entrepreneurs in niche industries and thousands of other anonymous citizens who are quietly qualified for this task.

And Larry, I do think the ones who draft this document should be American citizens. Absolutely. It seems silly to have outside parties casting undue influence over a document that they will not be bound by.

Oh, wait…

Stephen 11 Aug 05

Plato would be a bad choice. He dissaproved of democracy.

JF 11 Aug 05

I’m impressed that you remembered old Alan Simpson of Wyoming. Very soft spoken and intelligent guy.

Alan Simpson has always been one of my favorites.

Joel Dueck 11 Aug 05

It’s a simple concept, Carl. Not everyone has the level of understanding or the skill to write good government policy, let alone lay the foundations for a free society. That, in principle, is why we elect representatives instead of doing a referendum on everything.

What if you had said this:

“Are we that afraid of ourselves that we cringe at the idea of including 5 random citizens in the process of doing brain surgery on your mother?”

Hopefully those 5 random citizens have good intentions, but the odds against them being good brain surgeons are high enough that they still shouldn’t be allowed in the room.

Chris 11 Aug 05

I nominate Martha Stewart.

Not only has she had the experience of being a target of ‘the man’ but the list needs someone with the knowhow to make the hemp paper quill pens to write the document with!

(and Alan Keyes? are you mad? Unless you’re looking for a backdoor way to insure the first of the new first 10 ammendments to be the one that gives rights back to gays and lesbians, then I dunno how you could even think of such a thing)

Brian Ford 11 Aug 05

Plato would be a bad choice. He dissaproved of democracy.

While that may be true, I never suggested Plato as an option. I merely paraphrased one of his ideas by stating that the only qualified people for the job wouldn’t want to do the job.

Drew 11 Aug 05

It stopped reading Tom’s first comment right after “your reasonably intelligent”.

BH 11 Aug 05

Treasonous!
You’re all on the watch list.

kingbenny 11 Aug 05

Definitely second the Paul Harvey nomination. That guy has so many decades of observers’ wisdom.

Dave M 11 Aug 05

@Alex King:
>>what ever happened to the separation between church and state?

>Well, no matter what you think about the Founding Father’s beliefs, you can’t deny that a whole lot of them had seminary degrees.

Maybe they knew enough about religion and had their personal spirituality figured out, and concluded that it was something that the government had no right to sanction. You should definitely have your personal sh*t together (see Eastern spirituality) before you go organizing behind it (see Western religiosity).

Jessica 11 Aug 05

lol these comments are crazy Tom your a madman!! I dont pick anyone of those to rewrite the Constitution. Choose me before any of them.

sj 11 Aug 05

Dennis Kucinich, Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela (we should wish this guy was an American.)

Also Dan Marino.

IlliniPundit 11 Aug 05

John McCain and his never-ending crusade to erode the free-speech rights of average Americans have no place in any effort to re-write the Constitution.

JF 11 Aug 05

Yeah, Dennis Kucinich would be good too. Good call.

sj 11 Aug 05

I forgot - Tom Peters. The guy’s so far ahead of himself, not just in the world of management, but in issues related to education, health care, etc.

Also, he’d make sure the Constitution was in a big book with lots of photos and color, riddled with exclamation points.

Edward O'Connor 11 Aug 05

Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, Randy Barnett, David Friedman.

Rob 11 Aug 05

Thomas L. Friedman..not only is he a great writer for the NY Times, he should also run for President…His ideas just make common sense and he would make a great contribution to our constitution as well.

JD 11 Aug 05

Signal: Down, Noise: Up.

As for the thread, I agree with Larry. It’s not like the constitution we have now is followed or enforced. The supreme court hands down their own laws, regardless of the original consitution. Why would a new one be different?

A better post might pose the question of how we could either replace the supreme court with a new, not-so-politically-slanted panel. Or maybe how we could get back some of the ‘checks and balances’ we all learned about in high school.

Just my $0.02.

pwb 11 Aug 05

Lessig and Volokh.

matt 11 Aug 05

While I am skeptical about (maybe even uncomfortable with) this line of questioning, I can at least recognize that JF’s initial list included some women, something I’ve not seen among anyone’s comments except for a joking reference to Martha Stewart and a dig at Hillary Rodham Clinton. Peggy Noonan may be a complete nutjob, but at least she’s representing some aspect of the life experience of more than half this country. To that end, since Sandra Day O’Connor seems to have been recently been beatified by politicians of every stripe, she might be a good inclusion. So might academics like Judith Butler or feminists like Betty Friedan or “independent women” like Elizabeth Fox-Genovese.

That aside, this list is overwhelming white and heterosexual, and it seemingly contains few persons of non-Judeo-Christian backgrounds. Thus, it’s only fair to assume these people would operate with the incentive of maintaining the privileges already endemic in our political system. The inclusion of “5 randomly chosen citizens” might throw a nice bone to democracy, but to think that those persons would necessarily be able to stand up to figures of this stature is nothing if not naive.

In the end, I think any of these people’s time would be best spent educating the public about the Constitution we already have and the way that it has an effect on each of our daily lives. The issue of Supreme Court nominations didn’t resonate as an issue of concern in the last election outside a small group of activitists whose minds were already made up. These luminaries (and we as concerned citizens) would do better to explain why constitutional issues are important than engaging in a popularity contest where there can, almost by definition, be no winners.

Don Wilson 11 Aug 05

“If by “new constitution” you mean “new revision of the Communist Manifesto,” then yes, this is a good group to write it.”

Lmao, I couldn’t have said it best. Liberals are all knowing and all accepting and all loving, just as long as you’re not apart of the other half of the country.

I love hypocrisy.

Alex Cabrera 11 Aug 05

To say that the best and brightest are the only ones that should be involved in such an important root document is being, how should I put it, disgustingly elitist.

No, it’s being honest. The majority of people have no clue what the constitution means and are ready to throw out the most important parts because “it doesn’t feel right”. These are not the people that should be in charge of writing such a document.

BradNelson 11 Aug 05

Many of you may not like this, but I would like to see Newt Gingrich on the list as a promoter of smaller government.

I’d also like to see Sandra Day O’Connor and PJ O’Rourke. And ditto to Alan Greenspan, Christopher Hitchens, and Paul Harvey.

Scott D. 11 Aug 05

Oprah, duh!

Alex Cabrera 11 Aug 05

Newt Gingrich

Agreed. He had a lot of great ideas on how to run the government and was railroaded by both parties. He was too threatening to the status-quo

Anonymous Coward 11 Aug 05

Edward Tufte. At least for the writing portion.

Bob Aman 11 Aug 05

It’s already been said, but the shear quantity of crazy-ass nominations to this imaginary commitee should be scaring the crap out of all of you.

Our replies themselves show exactly why you don’t invite 5 random citizens to sit on such a commitee. You would want a small group of well-rounded, extremely talented people, not a gargantuan commitee of people who happen to have recognizable names. Keep it simple and elegant.

If I had to pick, my top choice would unhesitatingly be Ron Paul. But like mentioned by Dave Simon, he would almost certainly just say, “keep it the way it is.” As it should be. If you want to fix the problems that America has, really, instead you need to stop ignoring the Constitution, not write a new one. Besides, what makes you think we’d pay any more attention to the second Constitution considering how little most of the population cares about the current one?

paul 11 Aug 05

Mahr,Lessig,Oprah +1

Bush ? I picture his written with crayon and color by numbers or we are sunk.

We were most fortunate to have those fellas at that time so it does not seem preposterous to me to pick contemporaries even if only hypothetically, Tom, so chill ;)

Tim Robbins
Stephen Hawking
Carl Sagan(bummer his is gone)
Bill Joy
George Stephanophilis


Tom 11 Aug 05

Oh, I’m cool ;)

Actually, I still find many of the suggestions here out right terrifying only because it’s surprising to think that others actually respect some of these people.

I mean honestly, Jimmy Carter? I wasn’t even alive during his Presidency so I have no personal grudge but the man failed on every conceivable level…he did nothing right. Not a track record I’d want for someone writing a constitution. Oh, and Jimmy Carter’s supposed “election plan”, puh-lease…anyone could come up with a better system of voting then we have, it’s not an accomplishment. The accomplishment would be getting the politicians on both sides to adopt it (since both are afraid it would skew the vote in one direction or the other and that’s why it’s stonewalled)

That said, though I wouldn’t trust the group named above to write a new constitution, I have to admit one thing…they’d all make one hell of a season of the Surreal Life.

U.R. Brainwashed 12 Aug 05

This thread is emblematic of Amerika’s clueless denial-ridden unraveling.

The revolution will not be televised.

And, sadly, it will never happen at all.

Amerika’s devolution will continue unabated and on scheduled.

But don’t let that stop us.

We must keep voting in a one-party-with-two-faces rigged political state in dog-and-pony-show election cycles. We must continue to believe this equals democracy.

We must continue to surf the channels for ever-more vacuous infotainment while buying (and going into debt for) more-and-more stuff we don’t really want or need. We must continue to believe this equals choice.

We must continue working and locking our lives away for autocratic institutions and/or money all the while believing we’re free (on nights and weekends if we’re lucky).

We must continue to turn to and bow-in-deference-to experts, professionals and leaders to sanction this, that, or the other all the while believing we are self-actualizing and -determining.

We must continue to plunder and squander the world’s resources at insanely unsustainable rates of extraction and consumption all the while polluting and corrupting the biosphere as a consequence. We must continue to believe this is civilized progress.

We must continue terrorizing and murdering people and occupying lands (culling markets) abroad. We must continue to believe that when Amerika does it we “liberate” and when people fight back they “terrorize”.

We must continue to herald the corporately owned, operated, and monitored internet as our “salvation”. We must continue to believe this constitutes a form of socio-political “revolution”.

And, above all else, we must forever turn to theft-slavery-and-genocide justifying documentation written by plutocratic-and-property-owning white founding fathers (not mothers) for purpose, guidance, and salvation. We must continue to believe that if was created over two hundred years ago it must without a doubt serve us well today.

For that is the Amerikan Way! And if you don’t like it, we’ll kick your arse ‘cause we ain’t no wussies.

USA! USA! USA!

A god (which doesn’t exist) said, “We’re Number One!”, therefore we must be right! Ergo everyone else is wrong!

Tongues-in-cheeks aside, the most disturbing aspect of all the very depressing and alarming (though not surprising) posts in this thread is the claim: “Being one of the “Best and the Brightest” can be achieved by anyone who is smart and willing to work hard, elite or otherwise.”

Such is the stuff dreams are made of: that is one of the more blatantly fictional and mythological aspects of The Amerikan Nightmare.

Without going into detail here—one hardly knows where to begin to debunk what is so obvious on its face—I proffer the following from Paul Craig Roberts (hardly a “raving lefty” like me):

Watching the Economy Crumble
http://counterpunch.org/roberts08092005.html

How such stark, humbling, and devastating realities will marry with the far side of Hubbert’s Peak is anyone’s guess.

I suspect a messy divorce on our immediate horizon.

All the “great” thinkers, celebrity “experts”, and founding documents (not to mention technology and “markets”) in the world will not save us from the cliff’s edge ahead.

Enjoy!

Brian Ford 12 Aug 05

While I’ll agree that the vast majority of nominations are absurd… I think the original intent of the question was either to have fun or at least to create a discussion based on absurd suggestions. The only thing it’s proven to me is that I don’t think there ARE a group of people who could write a constitution that would work half as well as our current constitution.

On the other hand, if there’s something I hate more than absurd suggestions, it’s radical nuts that spout anti-Americanism as though it represents all Americans. Grow up.

rafuzo 12 Aug 05

U.R. Brainwashed,

Wow, that was great! I haven’t had a good laugh at college-sophomore-politics since I graduated and started talking to people who have some real life experience. It’s nice to know there are still nutcases out there thinking all solutions to the world’s problems exist in books written by Marx, Chomsky et al. Keep up the good work!

Tom 12 Aug 05

I’d like to officially nominate U.R. Brainwashed…

It’s no crazier than some of the other names posted here.

nick 12 Aug 05

Russ Feingold.

Only senator to vote against the PATRIOT Act.

Anon 13 Aug 05

Perhaps more importantly, who would do the CSS? ;)

capt. janks 15 Aug 05

No list is complete without Howard Stern.

Nir 15 Aug 05

I’d trust Matt Groening more than most.

Anonymous Coward 15 Aug 05

Super Dell Schanze or maybe Wilford Brimley.

teresa 15 Sep 05

what the crap are u talking about

Lisa 15 Sep 05

what the crap are u talking about

Anonymous Coward 15 Sep 05

what the crap are u talking about

Doug 13 Jan 06

Interesting list of names, most of whom are not qualified to take out my trash. Ralph Nader? Get real!

jack 16 May 06

man u guys r nerds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jack 16 May 06

man u guys r nerds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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