Piss, or get off the pot.
That’s what my mother used to say.
As I or someone else would wallow in indecision or mediocrity, she would call us to action with that simple phrase.
Piss, or get off the pot.
It means that it’s time to get after it, to get busy, to get serious and get going.
And in that spirit, I say to Republican congressional candidate Dr. Jim Maxwell: Piss, or get off the pot.
Either campaign like you’re a real candidate, or step aside and let someone else run.
Not trying to be harsh, but the summer is half gone and your campaign is missing in action. You seem to be listening to advice from everyone but taking advice from no one. You seem like a good-hearted guy, and would make an affable if ineffectual congressman, but you’re making a piss-poor candidate.
And if you’re not serious about it, if you’re not going to get in and get all in, then, seriously, step aside so this precious candidacy can be used by someone who will fight to win.
This is a rare juncture in history. After 30 years in the hands of one person, the Rochester congressional seat is open. You are facing a machine Democrat with decades of electioneering experience and an enrollment advantage.
He knows what he’s doing. You don’t.
He’s acting like it. And so are you.
And the small but viable opportunity to turn this seat Republican is slipping through your lackadaisical fingers.
Again, you are a good man. And your intentions are honorable.
But that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when it comes to winning elections.
It turns out that winning elections is a science, and an art, like any other craft. You didn’t freelance becoming a surgeon, any more than you could freelance being an auto mechanic or an accountant or an architect. You need to know the dynamic and principles of a field to succeed in that field.
And that includes politics.
It turns out “Mr Smith Goes To Washington” was fiction.
And it turns out being a great surgeon doesn’t teach you a thing about winning an election.
So, if you’re in it to win it, you need to listen and obey. Not as a sellout of your values, but as a means to empower them.
Because you can do it your way all the way to an ass whooping on Election Day.
Or you can take some advice and see if you can’t give Mr. Morelle a run for his money.
Where to start? Go the Monroe County Republican Party chairman and do what he says.
Really. Do what he says. Not just listen. Not just nod in seeming agreement. Don’t just give his suggestions lip service and forget them the moment you walk out the door. Do what he says.
Just like he would do what you said if he needed brain surgery.
But this isn’t brain surgery, this is politics.
And he knows politics. He has been elected several times himself, and he has helped other candidates be elected across Monroe County. He’s been there and done that.
And the likelihood that he is right about how to conduct a congressional campaign is far greater than the likelihood that you are right about how to conduct a congressional campaign.
You might even want to talk to some of the judicial candidates. Grab ahold of Judge Vicki or her husband and ask how they’re doing it. The judge candidates are everywhere. They are shaking hands and walking in parades and introducing themselves at a tireless pace to everyone. You are getting around, no doubt, too, but at nowhere near the pace they are.
And at nowhere near the pace that Joe Morelle is.
At parades all across the 25th District, this is the year of the Morelle sticker. And that is just as true in Republican towns as elsewhere. Scores and hundreds of parade watchers all smilingly wear their newly applied Morelle stickers.
It might sound cliché, but that stuff wins elections.
And that’s what you’re not doing, or not doing effectively.
So, like my mother said: Piss, or get off the pot.
Though, just like when she said it, we both know that getting off the pot isn’t an option. Life doesn’t let us back out of responsibilities, and federal law doesn’t allow you to get off the ballot.
So you’ve got to produce. It’s time to get your head straight and your campaign focused, and you need to bear down.
This isn’t an old man’s adventure, this is a country’s need. It’s about what’s best for America. And for those of us who don’t think one more progressive rubber stamp is good for America, your candidacy needs to take off. It needs to become a legitimate alternative.
You’ve got to fight, and you’ve got to fight to win.
And you’ve got to start now.