I was in the US for a big chunk of 2001, and up until September 11, Bush was regarded by many on the Right, and particularly in the Righty media to be a dunce, pro-illegal immigrants and soft on Islamist terrorism.
Fox News, and pundits like Michelle Malkin, went after Bush hard before the September 11 attacks somehow turned Bush into Hero President.
In the first half of 2001, the online Righties were still pretty excited about what they thought was a great victory in smashing Bill Clinton into utter mockery, they thought they had real power and influence and they were going to make sure Bush did as they demanded. But Bush was not delivering what they wanted in the first half of 2001, they hammered him pretty hard, at least as hard as supposedly Lefty shows like John Stewart's The Daily Show did.
Bush made a string of dimbulb verbal gaffes and took an incredible amount of holidays in those first nine months of 2001, and many of those Bush Is Stupid memes that came into popular circulation when it became clear Bush had lied his country into an unnecessary war and, with Hurricane Katrina, did not know what the fuck he was doing in general were first popular and foundationed into the President Bush II public perception by the hardcore conservative Righties in early 2001 who didn't think Bush was conservative enough.
September 11 gave Bush, as Condoleeza Rice put, "an opportunity", with the vast majority of all people in all nations on his side, to change the world for the better and to turn the aftermath of the attacks into something positive and inspired and brilliant. No world leader has ever had, and will ever have again, such a tidal wave of home and international support, he could do, and did, anything he wanted.
But Bush fucked it up. He blew it. He bailed on Afghanistan, attacked the people of Iraq, who hadn't done one single thing to him or the people of the US, hyped and mythologised a CIA list of mujahadeen the CIA and ISI trained and armed in the 1980s into the global enemy Al Qaeda and is ultimately responsible for the deaths and disablement of tens of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.
Looking back on the Bush years and thinking "Gee, he really did a good job" is a sign of a sociopathic mind.
/verbose rant off