AS A COG in the Democratic Machine, I may have a different view of politics from you.

As an elected committeeman - even though I am the lowest rung on the political ladder - I am an "insider" in a Center City gay-friendly, nonsmoking, wine-sipping, cheese-nibbling, progressive-talking, silk-stocking ward.

As a committeeman, I'm expected to show Eternal and Unquestioning Loyalty to the Democratic Party. I must be a bad seed, because I do not.

I consider myself an envoy from my neighbors to the Party. I am their guy, not the Party's guy. I have my own mind, my own hopes for Philadelphia.

That's why I (and many other free-spirit Democrats) voted for Sam Katz last time.

I won't say a bad word about any of the five major candidates because I respect the physical, emotional, psychological and financial effort they are making.

I won't jump in the briar patch of who has the most money, the highest IQ, the longest record, the most endorsements.

As a group, Tom Knox, Michael Nutter, Dwight Evans, Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady have put out a lot of good ideas. They seem to have more plans than we have problems.

Since I know few Grand Promises are ever kept and progress is caterpillar-slow, the Man is more important than the Plan.

I'd like to blend the Big Five into one Super Candidate, but that might result in a platypus, which is not God's most attractive creature.

I know each man, some better than others. I've been close enough to peer into their brains and hearts.

I like Bob Brady for mayor.

I say this not because Brady is my party's chairman (he is) or because he is my congressman (he is).

I will vote for Brady because I trust him to do the right thing for the everyday Philadelphian.

From personal experience, I know Brady is a man of his word. I know he deeply cares about working people. I know he's colorblind. I know he's got a hard head, but a soft heart in his Irish/Italian ethnic mix.

Yes, he had a bad hair day on the witness stand explaining "vesting" of his pension from the carpenters union. The pension bonus is a little smelly, but that's between Brady and his union. It's no more odorous than Ed Rendell drawing a pre-gubernatorial salary from the Ballard Spahr law firm for twiddling his thumbs.

It is fair to ask, as Tom Knox and Jill Porter have, if Bob Brady is smart enough to be mayor.

He is.

No theorist, he's a nuts-and-bolts guy, a born mediator with street smarts. He knows how to compromise so both sides can "win," which is a huge talent. He's not the guy you ask to design a car. He's the guy you ask to fix your car - and Philly needs fixing.

That he has many strong friends in a Congress almost certain to go Democrat is a bonus.

His voice is a little gruff, his syntax is a little rough, but when Brady talks, people understand him.

Running this city is like flying a kite made of Pick-Up-Stix in Fairmount Park at midnight. It requires thinking outside the box.

A Daily News editorial criticized the manner in which Brady helped resolve the community-college-teachers strike, but the staff, students and administrators were happy he got involved. Little known was Brady's behind-the-scenes role in helping steer a course away from a strike here at the paper last fall. He wanted no credit; he just wanted to help.

Wanting to help is what Bob Brady is about. If I said it was his "philosophy," he'd chuckle at such a high-falutin' word.

For a very big man, he's got a very small ego.

Kind of the opposite of what we have now. *

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