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.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.