He didn't win his upstart third party candidacy for president, but "Tickle," the hillbilly sidekick on the Discovery Channel hit "Moonshiners," has an answer to Washington's debt and fiscal cliff quandary: Legalize shine and watch the tax dollars roll in.
"If we can make moonshine legal," he tells Secrets in his first interview, "we can take people out of jail, so people won't have to pay for those in jail. Everybody can make a little extra money. And if you've got money in your pocket, you are going to spend more money."
Legalizing the 100-proof white lightning, he said, "might be what we have to do right there." At least two states yesterday voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a model Tickle suggested that moonshine advocates could follow.
The show enters its second season Wednesday night at 10 p.m. eastern, a surprise hit from the network that has found the secret to drawing large audiences to unique shows like "Gold Rush" and "Yukon Men." It features Tickle and Tim Smith making their illegal brew somewhere in Virginia's mountains and outrunning the law.
Asked which of the two presidential candidates he'd like to share a jar of moonshine with, Tickle immediately offered Mitt Romney, but he was quick to add that President Obama could do better in a second term if he had an occasional a sip of shine.
"I think maybe he needs to drink him a little moonshine because it might put things in perspective for him," said Tickle, whose trademark phrase is, "Everybody gets a sip."
And if the economy doesn't change over the next four years, Tickle promised a comeback. "Oh yeah, I'll run again," he said.