The presidents conservative critics

Illustration by Bob AulDoug Bandow is a fellow at the Washington-based libertarian think tank Cato Institute and frequently appears in The Orange County Register's commentary pages extolling the virtues of free trade and the Republican Party. But the Bush administration's Iraq war spin and recent attacks on former terrorism chief Richard Clarke have disgusted Bandow. Writing in a nationally syndicated April 14 column, he noted this irony: Republicans used to be the party of personal responsibility. But no more.

"At no point [in their arguments for war] has the president or his advisers accepted responsibility," Bandow wrote. "At worst, they appear to be conscious liars. At best, they seem deceitful and manipulative. . . . Indeed, it's why President Bush's trustworthiness ratings have fallen. The president and administration officials have no one to blame but themselves. Instead of attempting to trash Clarke's reputation, the president should work to rehabilitate his own. A verbal acknowledgement of responsibility for past misstatements would be nice. Firing someone would be even better."

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