Me the People by Kevin Bleyer; Random House, 317 pages ($26). "We have made a terrible mistake," writes Kevin Bleyer, a fellow who's won gold statues for being a writer on "The Daily Show" and sometimes salts presidential speeches. "And by the we I mean you As a citizen of the United States, you have put your faith in a four-page document written by farmers, scrawled on animal skin, disseminated more than two centuries ago, conceived in desperation in the aftermath of war, composed in the language of the country it was intended to spurn, and , scribbled in handwriting with the quill of a goose."
The document he's talking about is the Constitution. "We the people," all that.
But what if, for instance, that primal American political genius Thomas Jefferson believed that the Constitution "should naturally expire at the end of 19 years" and that "no society can make a perpetual constitution"?
So why not amend it completely every few years? Say, right now?
Or, as Bleyer might respond to that question, "I got this."
Here is Bleyer's wholesale and irresistible rewrite of the Constitution -- and stepwise explanation of same -- to go along with that other very funny and very smart book of which he was one of Stewart's platoon responsible, "Earth: The Book."
What we've long known is that "The Daily Show" has introduced us to the damndest combination of fact, satire, wonkery and wiseassery we've ever had daily doses of. What it means in book form is an extraordinarily entertaining, enlightening and sometimes even wise combination of eye-opening scholarship about American constitutional history and rambunctious comedy.
The latter is, on occasion, not so hot. That, however, won't change the fact that this is certainly as delightful a constitutional refresher (or crash course) as you'll find in this election year.
-- Jeff Simon