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Bad Bird Dog and BCCI


If it weren’t for Rob’s constant reminders about the insipid Bird Dog at Tacitus, I probably would have stopped going over there at all. I was interested in tracking down some right-wing takes on this NYT Mag piece on Kerry and terrorism, though, so Tacitus was an obvious place to go.

Bird Dog lived up to his reputation, and then some. The article begins with a perfunctory we-must-present-Democrats-as-out-of-touch-elitists bit on bottled water before moving on to substantive matters. This, BD assures us, is a “a small incident, but a telling one as it offered a glimpse into Kerry’s psyche.”

Later, he pulls reaches back into his bag of tricks to respond to a particular statement with a picture of the twin towers on fire. You can actually hear co-bloggers and commenters cringe with embarrassment.

But the point of this post isn’t mocking Bird Dog (I don’t want to encroach on Rob’s territory). I was looking at conservative reaction becuase I was curious if they were going to try to spin this:

through his BCCI investigation, Kerry did discover that a wide array of international criminals — Latin American drug lords, Palestinian terrorists, arms dealers — had one thing in common: they were able to move money around through the same illicit channels. And he worked hard, and with little credit, to shut those channels down.

In 1988, Kerry successfully proposed an amendment that forced the Treasury Department to negotiate so-called Kerry Agreements with foreign countries. Under these agreements, foreign governments had to promise to keep a close watch on their banks for potential money laundering or they risked losing their access to U.S. markets. Other measures Kerry tried to pass throughout the 90’s, virtually all of them blocked by Republican senators on the banking committee, would end up, in the wake of 9/11, in the USA Patriot Act; among other things, these measures subject banks to fines or loss of license if they don’t take steps to verify the identities of their customers and to avoid being used for money laundering.

Nothing from BD; he’s better at regurgitating spin than producing it. And frankly, it would take a true master of political spin to turn this into a negative for Kerry.

But my real question is, why aren’t they forced to deal with this? Why aren’t the Kerry-Edwards people touting it more? I simply don’t see the downside in using this. It’s also useful for him when he talks about the Patriot act. Here’s how it could help him talk about the Patrios Act: “It contains important stuff. I know, much of it was my idea before 9/11 and the GOP blocked it. I know how important the Patriot Act is, which makes it all the more important to fix is and make sure it protects our security as well as our civil rights.”

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