Here is a very interesting rumination on today's American South. It reinforces and clarifies what has seemed obvious to me and, probably, everyone else who looks at it: their current intransigence is precisely about Obama. To receive help from a black guy offends their sense of dignity. It's encoded deeply enough there that it moves them to hurt themselves in the process.
Up north, where the racists are more sprinkled about, it's just manifest in blind hate and conspiracy theories. They can accept the needed government programs with the luxury of railing about it at the same time.
There's false dignity, too; and it's just the inverse of self-esteem. You call upon your self-described "dignity" to convince yourself you're better than "they" are. It's always been the source of prejudice and bullying and the sort of formless rage we see directed at President Obama.