9/11 was a gift of sorts for the new Bush administration. That horrid event allowed them to use the inherent fear of the possibility of additional attacks to do most anything they wanted. It's rather easy to scare the American people as we have seen throughout our history. During the McCarthy era in the 1950's, Senator Joe McCarthy used the fear of communism to propel his career and power base. That worked remarkably well, at least for a few years. Another Senator named Nixon used that cheap con to win votes himself in getting to the senate. McCarthy went beyond even Nixon, and accused most everybody in government and out of being a communist. He even waved a sheet of paper around claiming he had a list of "commie" plants working in the State Department. That was an on-going accusation he could never prove: all he did eventually was to ruin a number of lives and careers, and drunk himself (thankfully) into an early grave.
Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and of course George W. Bush would draw something from that McCarthy playbook after 9/11. Those who refused to be taunted or forced to go along with their policies were labeled, not as communists, but as being anti-American, or just not "supporting the troops". This tactic worked as Bush and his gang decided to take their focus off of Afghanistan,and proceed to invade Iraq. This incredible mistake will go down in history as one of America's biggest foreign policy blunders. Of course most Americans don't see foreign policy mistakes initially because fear is used to get public support for such misadventures. Not until years later when the death tolls mount, along with billions of dollars do Americans finally realize they have been hoodwinked.
In the case of 9/11, scaring Americans helped Bush and company to build a huge national security apparatus not seen before. Bush also mistakenly sought and accomplished several big tax cuts, this happening as we spent billions going to war. While Bush and congress spent billions, not only did they cut taxes,but passed a Medicare Part D drug bill which will cost Americans $1 trillion over ten years. When the economic crash came, millions looked back over all of this irrational spending and decided mistakes were made. The extreme right-wing of the Republican Party decided only after a Black Democrat was elected President, that this spending and ever-growing debt was killing our country. It had to be stopped. The Tea Party was formed and quickly was able, at the grass roots level, to get many elected to congress. They were able to do this especially in states where districts were gerrymandered or constructed in ways where mainly like-minded individuals lived. As Barack Obama came into office, his name, and color were used in ways developed in the old fear mongers playbook. Obama had to be a foreign name, so Obama was accused of not being an American citizen. With a middle name of Hussein, the fear mongers decided he wasn't just an illegal alien, he was a Muslim, and a terrorist at that-who somehow made it to the most powerful office on planet earth.
When asked why this anger hadn't bubbled over while George W. Bush was in office, the Tea Party crowd says they were angry, and protesting although proof of this activity seems rather sketchy. Regardless of their extreme views, the Republican Party welcomed the Tea Party crowd;they helped take back congress. They were extremists, but at least they were Republicans. That fact came back to haunt the party regulars recently when this handful of freaks had the power and influence to shut down the government. Now Republicans who seek to gain power again, like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, wish the Tea Party types would vanish into the woodwork. This whole scenario reeks of the "be careful what you wish for" mentality. Even Rove in a recent interview said he doesn't think the message of extremism is good for Republican candidates, and has an organization (American Crossroads) out to fund more moderate candidates. We're in a scary place when Cheney and Rove are seen as moderates. The Tea Party crowd is so off the reservation of reality that they don't think Bush was 'conservative" enough, or that Romney or McCain were which is why they lost. Didn't Bush cut enough taxes? While fighting two wars at the same time, would more tax cuts have saved our economy? If Obamacare is socialism, what is Social Security or Medicare? If the Tea Party types are so dead against socialism, how many of them are opting out of these programs?
Back in McCarthy's time of the 1950's, another organization, the Tea Party of its time, The John Birch Society, claimed Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy were communist sympathizers. These type of maniacs were quite popular in the south of course where they still think slavery wasn't a bad idea, and were quite evident in Dallas causing many in Washington to warn JFK not to go there in November, 1963. Times change, but America still produces citizens who are easily scared, and use fear to win elections, and stay in power. No amount of progress or information can open the door of logic for these people. They hold on to their freaky beliefs despite the obvious. I agree huge debts are not good for America, but both times over the past thirty years when record debt was created, it was a Republican who was president. We twice tried trickle-down economics and ended up in huge debt. We've been taxed less over the past decade than at any other time since the early 1950's and job growth has been weak. Both Reagan and Bush removed regulations like the extreme right wanted, and we ended up in a housing crash caused in part by an era of absurdly easy housing loan scandals. Then too, the banking and Wall Street financial crisis was a direct result of little or no regulation and/or oversight. Cheney, Rove, and Bush helped usher in this era, and that is their legacy. They left a Republican Party in the hands of total maniacs who didn't just NOT learn from previous mistakes, but figured the former Republican holders of power just didn't get it right-enough. With this crowd holding any kind of real power-every night is Halloween.