In The New York Observer, Tom Scocca claims to have gotten to the bottom of the story of Phil Parlock, the Republican who says he was attacked by Democrats at rallies in three separate presidential election years:
Mr. Parlock's overall public record is less that of a G.O.P. operative than of a run-of-the-mill publicity hound, a quote machine who's gotten his name in print for stories about cell phones, a new Boy Scout climbing tower and his candidacy for school-board elections.
The conspiracy theories about a Republican agent provocateur tearing up the sign don't hold up very well. Bloggers have been speculating that an unidentified man in some of Mr. Snyder's photos -- wearing a T-shirt from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and holding scraps of little Sophie's sign -- could have been one of Mr. Parlock’s older sons in disguise.
But IUPAT spokesman Gavin McDonald said that the union has recognized the mystery figure as one of its members from West Virginia. "We're taking the appropriate steps within our union rules and regulations to deal with the matter," he added.
Well, OK. Maybe he really was subject to rough treatment this year and four years ago and eight years ago. Right-wingers who saw this story thought that was the case, and said it just showed what awful people Democrats are.
But Sue Niederer recently tried to interrupt a Laura Bush speech to talk about her son, who was killed in Iraq, and was drowned out by counter-hecklers shouting "Four more years!" -- and who knows what else the crowd would have done to her if she hadn't been carried away in handcuffs. And another woman who interrupted a Bush speech had her hair pulled by an audience member. Maybe this is just what happens when you make your way into the thick of a political rally with the wrong message. In which case, Phil, why go looking for trouble -- with your little girl on your shoulders?
By the way, I never thought Parlock was an "operative" -- I thought he was a freelance zealot. Every four years, at least, I still think that's what he is. A lot of zealots have a martyr complex.