Garry Wills is one of my favorite authors. I was first introduced to him via his book "Nixon Agonistes" while a student at the University of New Orleans back in the 1970s. An essential part of Wills' argument about Nixon was that Nixon was actually "the last liberal" when it came to foreign policy. He used "liberal" in the classical, Wilsonian sense of an interventionist America willing to use its military to right what it perceived to be the world's wrongs.
Using that framework, one could argue (accurately, I believe) that George W. Bush is also a liberal, despite all his posturing. In fact, many conservatives are actually coming to see this Bush administration as liberal (or at least the antithesis of conservatism) in the way it has launched foreign wars, grown the size of government, as well as the reach of government into the lives of the citizenry.
Wills has a great op-ed piece in the Sunday edition of the New York Times in which he argues that Jesus is beyond the reach of the politics, despite the persistent attempt of the political parties (particularly Republicans) to pose as the party of the religious.
Kevin Phillips, in his new book, "American Theocracy" argues that the Republican Party has become the first religious party in American history. I agree. But, Wills distinguishes between the "institutional Jesus" and the Jesus of the New Testament whom, Wills points out, "is called a devil, the devil's agent, irreligious, unclean, a mocker of Jewish law, a drunkard, a glutton, a promoter of immorality."
What I love about Wills the writer is his how his research and knowledge enables readers to gain new insights and understanding of even "familiar" figures like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, St. Augustine, or, in his most recent book, Jesus.
Wills' body of work is worthy of the attention of any serious thinker.