With all of America's exceptional qualities, there's also a sense feeling for some that America's time of preeminence is in danger of passing, perhaps to China. There's a notion now that politicians and other leaders aren't doing enough to secure the nation's premier place in the world.
No one in modern time has given as much to South Carolina as Fritz Hollings. In seven decades of public service -- starting as a young officer in World War II to becoming governor to being elected seven times to the United States Senate -- Hollings has given back in big ways.
If you look at the numbers, Barack Obama should be a Republican's dream president. The list of accomplishments, particularly economic, is impressive. Yet, all you hear around water coolers and tables full of Republican men at breakfast is harping and carping.
When the private information of South Carolinians was in peril this fall thanks to a hacker who invaded the state's surprisingly vulnerable Department of Revenue computer system, what did Haley and company do? Wait.
Although today's South is a diverse economic engine, it still has educational, environmental, poverty, health and other challenges brought on, in large part, by a long period of neglect following the Civil War.
If you listen to the rhetoric surrounding the Gulf oil disaster, much of the talk is about people getting their lives back to normal -- to how things were. But is this really the right focus? Just look at how things have been.