This is one of those columns that practically writes itself. In fact, I could just point you towards Ilya Katz's website and let it go at that: www.katz4uscongress.com.
But noooo. Annoying little twerp that I am, I'm going to have a bit of fun with Dr. Katz (trained in "Early Christian Art and Architecture," he says). Here's why: Affable, mild-mannered and well-meaning as he is, his presence in the race for the GOP nomination in CD-18, where Tea Party hero and confessed torturer Allen West ran aground two years ago, is a sign of the terminal intellectual corruption of the GOP, now a hothouse of nightblooming nuttiness.
Katz, who describes himself as "seventy-eight years young, an original refugee from Russia," purports to be "a former director, journalist, lecturer and part-time professor of political studies at Loyola University, Columbia College and YMCA community college in Chicago." In a phone interview, and in a thick Russian accent, he told New Times, he had been imprisoned in the Soviet Union in the Brezhnev era, for satirical essays and other activities critical of the regime. "I was advocating a capitalistic system," he said, and when he was released, "They threw me out. They didn't need me."
"I'm quite different from other candidates," Katz told us. No argument here.
The current campaign is Katz's second time around in South Florida, having mounted a 2012 challenge to Debbie Wasserman Schultz in CD-23. Running as an independent, he got 3124 votes. (We'd like to know more about the voters who bought into this sort of thing.)
Maybe it was his personality. Katz is a such a pip, a real character, irrepressible in the self-assured way of a Catskill's tummler. And sure enough, he does also present himself as a "humorist and cartoonist...a writer who's published eight books in one year." His "humor," though, it must be said, depends on a delusional political syntax--the kind of cult-like private language Tea Party acolytes sling about, an Alice-in-Wonderspeak where words mean "just what I choose [them] to mean -- neither more nor less."
(In Katz's latest tome, The Obamasutra, for example, it is repeatedly and confidently asserted that Obama is paving the path to socialism -- or "soscialism," as Katz often tags it -- as though the man who bailed out Wall Street, sold off the public interest in General Motors and instituted a national health insurance system that funnels millions of citizens into the care of privately-owned insurance companies is some kind of pinko. Democrat Patrick Murphy, who currently represents CD-18, is complicit, of course.)
In our phone conversation, Katz gave as examples of creeping socialism the federal government's "total spying" and the education proposal Common Core, ("They support homosexuals. They teach babies technique for breast-feeding. And many other stupid things. They throw religion out of schools and other public places because they don't like competition.")
Katz told us his campaign finances are practically non-existent, that he's running strictly on gumption, "driving from meeting to meeting to give enlightenment and entertainment." GOP leadership, he said, is "united behind Ellen Andel. They don't give me a chance to talk about socialism,about economy."
That's unfortunate for the GOP, Katz told us. "[Ellen Andel] developed her legs -- she's some kind of runner -- I developed my brain."
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.