For me, separating myself from what I now consider a naive move toward Reaganism happened in the late 1980’s when Iran-Contra allowed me to realize it was all just the same old song-and-dance. My anarcho-cynicism evolved over the course of the next decade as I saw very little redeemable about any political regime in the United States.
The Bush years, then, were not an aberration but a culmination. What mattered to me were not finally the particular instances of bad behavior or misguided political ideas on the right in the early 2000s, but their cumulative force. I came to reject conservatism—fitfully, and without a coherent alternative at hand—because I understood it to be an ideology willfully resistant to reality. The misery caused by George W. Bush and the movement that enabled him mattered both in and of itself and because it revealed the fundamental limitations and failings of conservatism.