Fangate

If you’re a big believer in the “Game Change” theory of politics, in which competitive elections are decided by discrete late-breaking events that sway undecided voters, then you’ll love what happened last night in Tampa in a gubernatorial debate between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist:

Scott ultimately relented after a six minute delay, which must have felt like an eternity to everyone other than cool-and-calm Charlie Crist. Perhaps the incumbent’s advisers convinced him he was coming across like a self-centered jackass of a control freak.

In any event, it sounds like Scott’s debate message wasn’t a lot more substantive than the freakout over Crist’s fan: it mostly revolved around repeating over and over and over that Florida had no job gains under Crist and significant job gains under Scott. Crist has a pretty good comeback, if you can ignore the grating allusion to Ronald Reagan’s famous “there you go again” line from 1980, which really needs to be retired:

“Rick, there you go again: trying to blame the global economic meltdown on me,” Crist said. “You just can’t trust Rick. It’s sad. And it’s unfortunate.”

It is indeed absurd that Scott’s trying to pretend the governor of Florida has any real control over national–much less global–economic conditions, and to take credit for a cyclical recovery that his Republican allies have worked so hard to undermine. So if he loses votes over something as stupid as what Florida reporters are calling “fangate,” he deserves 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.