The Power of Bill

Pecos Bill and Buffalo Bill. Billy the Kid and Wild Bill Hickok. Bill Cosby, Bill Gates and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

There's something about a guy called Bill. Oh, there's been a few bad apples in the barrel over time, but mostly, if there's a guy who did something remarkable, and his parents had fortuitously named him William, we call him Bill. He's one of us. No matter the exploits, no matter the fortune, no matter the fame, when we talk about him he's just plain Bill.

I can't imagine anyone watching Bill Clinton's address to the Democratic Convention last night not being somehow drawn into the power of Bill. People on the "other side" must be groaning in anguish that they do not have a Bill of their own.

Bill Clinton has taken a ride or two in American politics and there's a damned good reason that every time we think he's down, here he comes again, and we love him for it. He's got that Bill thing going on. He's got it in spades. He means it, and we know he means it.

There's some other Bills around whose mothers, perhaps as a forlorn hope, named their little boys William and called them Bill too. But the magic didn't quite stick. And we're sorry for that.

But when it does, it sticks and sticks good. And Wednesday night in North Carolina we were reminded why. He might be Slick Willy to some. But to us he's Just Our Bill.