This is a very underrated fact and I hadn't even quite thought of it in these terms until now. The GOP base, initially on board with the Bush foreign policy project, really DID just kind of...get bored with it.
They had plenty of anti-Muslim hatred in them, but the way the WoT was conducted might have been too distant and clinical. It was all on TV, and dealt with things and ideas and people farther from their lives than the stuff they usually felt grievance over.
Maybe hot take but...

1. This might be why the marriage equality issue fired them up so much in the mid aughts, and

2. That issue kept the GOP base energized and the party afloat more than people realized.

Super open white nationalist stuff was still much less common then.
And the WoT wasn't QUITE pushing their buttons the way they wanted.

Fiercely anti-abortion politics has always been a partly niche issue that gets a lot of priority.

The anti-gay stuff was the one bit of real red meat they got, at least the kind they WANTED.
One interesting angle to all this is the Iraq war, and what it was telling people about the Republican base.

The first time I REALLY became convinced the GOP base was fertile grounds for fascism was in 2003, and I saw how right wingers reacted to critics of the Iraq invasion.
A lot of people have either forgotten or were too young to remember, but the response to even the SLIGHTEST criticism or just lack of enthusiasm was fierce and aggressive. @videospacegames likely recalls this, since we were involved in a lot of arguments with war supporters.
Accusations of treason, fantasies of violence, all kinds of insults, constantly bringing it up to people they knew opposed the war. Their reaction to war criticism was hair-trigger and extremely obsessive, with an undercurrent of genuine rage and contempt.
Strangely, and again I didn't quite see all of this until @Gwynnion 's tweets, few of them seemed interested IN THE WAR ITSELF.

No investment in the outcome, no idea of why it mattered.

But what they WERE invested in was just fighting/demeaning/hate opponents of the war.
Seeing the nature and intensity of that reaction is when I started seeing a much wider and more fertile ground for fascism in the conservative base than I had before. They really, REALLY could not handle dissent on this issue.
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