The south has been insisting on its own way ever since the Constitution of the United States was written, including while it was being written.
They're at it again. The tea party caucus, overwhelmingly white and southern, refuses to recognize and is actively subverting a law that provides universal health insurance coverage.
The first President to propose a national health care plan was a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. The Democratic Party has supported universal coverage since Harry Truman.
President Obama ran for president on universal health care. The Affordable Care Act was passed by both houses of Congress, declared constitutional by the Supreme Court, and the President who proposed it was re-elected by five million votes. In a constitutional republic, this is supposed to count.
But no, the southerners don't like it. Joan Walsh slices and dices southern GOP history to remind us of the racial bias that has animated the GOP since at least 1964. She remembers Lee Atwater in particular. He's the one who famously said:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “N–ger, n–ger, n–ger.” By 1968 you can’t say “n–ger” — that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites … “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N–ger, n–ger.”
"Defund Obamacare" is the new "states' rights". What could be worse than a black president passing a law that, in many minds, helps black people?
In fact, government itself is synonymous in some peoples' minds with helping black people, and is probably the main reason a certain constituency thinks government is the root of all evil. (Actually, money is. I just checked. 1 Tim 6:10)
When I was growing up in a rural Kansas environment back in the late 1950's and early 1960's, people liked and generally trusted the government. We were farmers, and a certain natural grousing about the government comes with the territory, but, overall, even we farmers thought the government was doing a good job.
"I'm from the federal government and I'm hear to help you." That's the sarcastic punch-line of a supposed joke that I first heard in 1974, told by then Congressman Robert J. Dole.
What had happened between 1964, when my conservative civics teacher was singing the benefits of the New Deal, and 1974, when Cong. Dole thought it politically wise to unleash an anti-government zinger? The civil rights movement, when government (finally) came down on the side of black people. For some, the government has been the enemy ever since.