Of the Not-Mitts, only Rick Perry was blessed with the complete package. Perry, like the greatest Republicans of this new millennium, George W Bush, Sarah Palin, and Joe the Plumber, is folksy authenticism personified. It's a shame his service as a Not-Mitt ended so quickly.
Now, after Herman Cain's fall, Newt Gingrich is our Not-Mitt. He was awarded that position by default because the other remaining candidates failed the eligibility requirements. Huntsman is nothing more than a hip version of Mitt. Santorum's preference for the kennel over the barn perverts the heartlandian ideal. And Ron Paul? Well, let's just say it looks like someone found Hunter Thompson's adrenochrome stash.
Gingrich won't last for very long. Being an arrogant prick may have served President Bush and Gov. Palin well, but only because it was ladled with healthy doses of folksiness and passionate ignorance. Newt can't do that. It's not a part of his character.
So where will we patriots find our next Not-Mitt. Certainly, we won't find one in the conservative establishment. The GOP House and Senate caucuses might be rife with ignorance, but it's a studied ignorance, not the passionately credulous, highly valued, natural ignorance of the Heartland--the kind of ignorance that brought Palin, Bush, and Joe the Plumber to the national stage, the kind of folksy ignorance that marked them as authentic Americans.
We must look to basic cable for our next Not-Mitt. With shows like American Hoggers, Lady Hoggers, Swamp People, Hillbilly Handfishing, and Moonshiners, it's our nation's most productive incubator for authentic Americans.
Jerry Campbell of A&E's American Hoggers would make an excellent Not-Mitt. Like Bush and Palin, he's incomprehensible folksy--he's the kind of guy who's prone to say things like, "Guvmint is a like one of those wild rap parties that ride shotgun on a hog's snout." More importantly, he looks like a regular guy, the kind of guy you'll find sipping coffee in any cafe in the Heartland, the kind of guy who thinks manure is a form of cologne and clean overalls are the mark of godless idleness. You know what I mean; he's an authentic American.
The History Channel's Swamp People provides us with the father and son team of Junior (the father) and William Edwards. Not only do they serve as the very model of what conservative voters consider authentic. They, or rather, Junior, regularly honors Dick Cheney, by shooting William. Here's an actual conversation the Edwards family had during one of the shows:
Junior: I popped WillieWillie also has that extra-tight-family values look about him. You know the kind of extra-tight-family values I mean. It's the kind that makes you wonder if Junior ever left the house when he was looking for someone to marry.
Mrs. Edwards: What do you mean you popped Willie?
Junior: I shot him, again.
Mrs. Edwards: Where?
Junior: Got him under the eye, and shot him in the shoulder,
Mrs. Edwards: Oh, it's on.
Junior: I told him to get out of the way! Big alligator coming of the bank. I can't lose the alligator. I'm shooting the alligator way over here, he [Willie] way over yonder. He [the gator] came off the bank and I shot him like straight down like that, and somehow he [Willie] gets himself in the way up there, and gets shot.
Mrs. Edwards: I say you ain't getting the gun no more. Somebody else got to use the gun. Willie don't never get complains 'bout him shooting and it ricochets.
Junior: I never get shot. I can't help they get in front. They get in front of my bullet.
Mrs. Edwards: Is it still in there?
Willie: Yeah. Both of them still in there.
Or how about the not-men who launched the new "boobs and hogs" cable craze. I don't know much about Lady Hoggers' Christie Chreene and Julie Snead or American Hoggers' Krystal Campbell and Lea Penick, but dammit, there's just something you got to like about a not-man throwing down and hogtying a big ol' boar. If that ain't enough authenticism to become a Not-Mitt, nothing is.
Then there's Steve Tickle from Moonshiners. He's a true patriot. No matter how slurred and incomprehensible his speech may be, it always brings tears to my eyes when I hear him speak so passionately about how moonshine won the American Revolution.
Finally, let's take a look at Skipper Bevins from Hillbilly Handfishing. Here's a guy who wades into murky water, sticks his feet into unseen voids, waits for a catfish to clamp down on his toes, and then reaches down and grabs the toe sucker with his bare hands.
But then again, that sounds a bit too much like what Newt does in his business and personal life. Maybe, skipper wouldn't be such a good Not-Mitt after all.
A word about these shows
There are a number of coastalislmunistofascists out there who say the folks in these shows ain't representative of the Heartland--that it's all just a bunch of stereotypes.
Well, all I have to say is that these shows aren't being aired on propaganda networks like PBS. They're on respected education services like the History Channel, artsy-fartsy stations like A&E, and important science channels like Discovery and Animal Planet.