And, you are misreading Anne's race. Vince Fumo's candidate lost. But, Mike O'Brien, the winner, is just as much a "machine" candidate as was Terry Grayboyes. For example, he had the backing of John Dougherty, ward leaders, etc. He was not an anti-machine candidate, he was just part of a little inter- machine war.
Again, I think you are fundamentally misreading Philadelphia politics with the electoral analysis.
First, we have campaign limits. Knox can give, at most 10k to a City Council candidate. So, besides a 10k check, what does it get them? Do we have any proof at all that Tom Knox knows how to get out votes in Philly? It is not like he is going to run some coordinated ground game for them. They each have their own, real, campaigns. But more importantly than that, what I think you are misreading is that for many districts, being for Knox will get you very few votes. That is the main problem with your analysis- all of these progressive voters are not voting for Knox, and do not like Knox. One example: my dad (a council candidate) mentioned his work on payday lending at Philly for Change. It was the biggest applause line in the speech, because... progressives don't like Knox.
Additionally, while the district people could certainly use more money, you are misreading the money situation, and the effect cfr has already had on Philly elections. Everyone and their mother, including incumbents, is having a lot of trouble raising money (this is the only reason Knox has had so much TV time by himself). They used to be able to get it in a couple big chunks, or funneled by the party in big chunks. That cannot happen now. Challengers, while strapped, might have more money than some incumbents- in fact I would bet you money on it. (And the party apparatus does not work for free- they get paid. No money, that apparatus is hurt.)
So, lets say Knox is going to win. Then who cares? Leave it alone, and focus on Council races, because all you are going to do is piss off on and offline progressives of all colors in Philly, who do not like him, and who we need to get people into office.
Knox is not winning you seats on Council. For that you are going to need grassroots, on the ground candidates, most of whom detest the rich, healthcare CEO who dabbled in payday lending. It just wont happen. But, can we win City Council seats without him? Sure can. (And, Fattah is in my book most likely to win, anyway.)
Your first part, and your last part are completely independent in Philly politics. The reality is that Knox's mayoral run really will not have anything to do with City Council races, especially not district races. Those are TV-free, retail, ground game based campaigns. And, we will have at least two or three good people win.
Fattah has said any tax shifting be will revenue neutral, to make taxes easier... and more progressive. So, I don't really worry about that. Nutter will, sure. And yeah, everyone has their flaws.
Where are Knox's positives? To me, too much is at risk to put in someone purely because he is anti-machine.
Nutter has not gone on the air, Evans has only barely done so, and Fattah has not at all.
First, the payday lending thing. Knox led his bank into the gross industry, and then a couple weeks ago, referred to banking regulators who came after him for it as "gestapo." This is a poor City, and I just don't think someone with those instincts should be in charge. His other big business venture was the healthcare industry. Again, uh, healthcare CEO's are not always the most progressive.
Second, I diagree with your analysis. Knox and, say, Mike Nutter share a lot of the same base of voters in terms of the reform crowd. Nutter has raised a fair amount of money, and is going to on the air sometime very soon. That will hit Knox's base hard.
Third, the Knox campaign has no experience to run a ground game. Yes, he can buy some of that. But, what happens if Brady is kicked of and puts the full party apparatus behind Fattah, who will already have a strong ground game, that knows Philly?
Fourth, people in Philly strategically vote. In 1999, John Street was not the favorite. But many people who were going to vote for either Evans of John White (who came in third), voted for Street to keep out Marty Weinberg.
I get the anti-machine stuff, and hell, I run a website that is probably most identified with that. But to me, if you are a traditional progressive, you have a Mayor campaigning on a wildly ambitious, ending poverty type platform. (Fattah.) If you are a strict against the machine, government efficiency type, you have someone that has a record, and is hate by the machine (Nutter).
Yes, Knox is not tied to any interests in the City. But given his business instincts, that scares the living hell out of me.
I agree- the bar is a lot lower for what you have to do to start to make an impact when you do it locally. And, I think it builds on itself, because people feel empowered when, for example, Mayoral candidates come on line to talk about their agenda.
Interesting to me is that the writers we have are not the writers that are in the national blogosphere, at least generally. In fact, I think Alex and I may be the only ones who even reads DKos or MyDD. In other words, it is not a local version of Kos, it is a word that only sometimes overlaps. I wonder, given the lower bar, if there is a difference in age demographic between local blogs and national ones.
Our blog is local, so, we don't have any big shots. But, what we do have are now 8 front page contributors, all from 29 to 22 years old, all committed to our little neck of the woods, and a reasonably big readership to go with it (like 35k per week in blogads numbers).
And, we have a 25 year old State Rep, Tony Payton, to boot.