Fangate Gets Weirder

I don’t want to spend too much time on “Fangate”–the bizarre delay in the beginning of a Florida gubernatorial debate because Rick Scott was holding his breath backstage until the fan under Charlie Crist’s podium was removed [and yes, the techies are working on killing the automatic relay feature of the video of the event]. But I didn’t realize until reading Molly Ball’s piece at The Atlantic that Crist’s fan is a signature innocent affectation that’s been joked about for years in Florida. On top of that, after last night’s brouhaha Crist produced a copy of the debate contract with a handwritten proviso requiring a fan if “temperature issues” so required.

So (a) Scott knew about Crist’s habit of always having a fan on hand at speaking appearances and (b) it was at least mentioned in debate preparations. So what was he trying to do by pitching a hissy-fit over it? Beats me, though Rick Scott has never struck me as being especially normal.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve known several people (including a current family member) who can’t function without a fan nearby, sometimes to cool things off, sometimes to provide “white noise.” sometimes just as a soothing reminder of early childhood naps. As neuroses go (if that’s what it is) it’s extremely benign. As I noted this morning, Rick Scott came off looking like a jackass with control issues. Maybe he’ll lose on November 4 and blame whoever advised him in this boneheaded move, and we’ll get to the bottom of it.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.