The Founders, in their infinite wisdom, definitely anticipated all the events of recent weeks. Excerpts from James Madison’s redacted notes during the Constitutional Convention follow below.
JOURNAL OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1787
Monday, May 28
Discussion progressed apace. The Virginia Plan was accepted as a basis for debate.
We were making great strides in regards to the responsibilities of the executive until Benjamin Franklin entered very agitated and with the following proposals, vis.
- that provision must be made in the event that the chief executive wished to spend the majority of his time engaged in striking balls with clubs and endeavoring to make them fall into small holes at variable distances from the initial striking point
- that provision must be made in the event that said executive wished to conduct all his business from a place where he had access to such a diversion
- that if the chief executive wished continually to make derogatory remarks about women provision ought to be made for that lest it detract from the running of affairs of state
- that …
At this point Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania arose from his desk and escorted Mr. Franklin home to bed, as his brain was evidently addled with strong drink.
Tuesday, May 29
We continue to discuss the responsibility of the chief executive: Shall there be one man or a coalition of three?
Benjamin Franklin said that it did not matter if it was one man or three men provided that we made provision that it not be one man, a creepy guy who ran a conspiracy website and the first man’s son-in-law, and Gouverneur Morris again escorted him to bed with the fervent wish that he should not disrupt proceedings on the morrow.
Wednesday May 30
We have determined that the executive is to be filled by a single gentleman and now move on to the legislature and the judiciary. We have determined a supreme court, independent of both the legislature and the executive. The president will suggest judges, but the legislature must confirm them.
Benjamin Franklin again entered agitated with numerous proposals, namely the suggestion that if the members of the majority party of the legislature would not move to fill a vacancy on the supreme court until a president could be elected from said majority party, that this would be bad and ought not to be allowed.
“Shouldn’t we put something in there saying, ‘that’s a jerk move’?” asked he.
I escorted him home. His brain was much fevered, and I took great pains to reassure him that this would not be, as there was no party system, nor would any partisan fervor distract the legislature from ensuring that the best man was selected for the job. Or woman, he babbled, but he was at that point quite far gone.
Thursday, May 31
A peaceful day. We figured out a compromise for the tallying of population that will no doubt prove extremely popular and uncontroversial in the future and prevent conflict among the Northern and Southern states. I need not name it here.
Friday, June 1
The suggestion was raised that there ought to be protections for speech, worship and the press added to this document, but we agreed that we could fix it in post-production.
Monday, June 4
Benjamin Franklin in fine form again today, this time with the suggestion that if the present system for the selection of a president and vice president were to prove flawed, we ought not replace it with an “electoral college” as that would be “some [unprintable] nonsense.” Franklin is becoming unmanageable.
Gouverneur Morris agreed that an “electoral college” sounded lame, especially if, as Franklin explained, it would not even be a real college.
I think the lightning that struck his key in that thunderstorm may have gone to his head.
Tuesday, June 5
Now Franklin is suggesting that we ought to make provisions in case the president fires the FBI director. What is the FBI? Why would the president fire this man?
He also said that if we later protected everyone’s right to bear arms we should specify muskets and not “like really big guns that can fire 25 rounds in 2.5 seconds” but George Mason said that this was surely sorcery and that the men of the future would surely understand, to which Franklin retorted that perhaps they might be Women, at which point we took Franklin home again in his sedan chair to general outcry.
Wednesday, June 6
Alexander Hamilton spoke for ten hours and it was very extra.
Franklin stayed home.
Thursday, June 7
Franklin back again today. He must be restrained somehow.
Suppose, he said, that a man who was “really bad at the job” got elected, as he said, a man who knew neither history nor philosophy, and spent his days engaged in hurling invective at a luminous box. Suppose, Franklin then added, that he had a major policy change on its way through the senate, but understood it not at all, and preferred to yell at his luminous box and emit fearsome words, and also suppose that Russia had wished for his victory.
We again escorted him home and are summoning a doctor to look over him. These pointless hypotheticals are the thief of time. As long as the men of the future are wise and just we need not fear.
Nay, I shall go even farther and say: These things are not possible. Why, I am more afraid that a woman will be appointed chief executive. Which we know shall never be! We shall restrain Franklin and proceed calmly and rationally on the morrow.