THEY’RE STILL GOING AFTER TED KENNEDY…. When it comes to the religious right, some groups and leaders have real power and influence. The Traditional Values Coalition and its chairman, Lou Sheldon, have neither power nor influence, and are more or less bottom feeders in the movement’s food chain.

But the TVC nevertheless manages to raise eyebrows from time to time with attacks like this one, sent to the group’s supporters this week.

“Just when Americans started to hope that the liberal leadership in the Senate had learned its lesson last November, they do something which is so blatantly hypocritical and offensive.

“Few legislators despised the U.S. military more than the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

“So where does the Senate include funding for (take a deep breath here because this is going to make your blood boil!) the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate to the tune of $8 million?

“It’s right there on page 383. It is part of a $41,400,000 appropriation for the Department of Defense!”

Just as a matter of fact-checking, the Traditional Values Coalition confused the omnibus spending bill with the defense authorization bill.

Regardless, smearing Kennedy this way is disgusting.

In addition to serving in the Army from 1951 to 1953, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) saw one brother, Joe Kennedy, Jr., die in combat during World War II, and another become president in part because of his reputation for heroism in the Pacific Theater of that same war. Over decades of service in the Senate, he supported or co-sponsored numerous bills aimed at improving life for the men and women who protect us, and giving them the tools (like up-armored Humvees) and support (like child care for their kids) they need to succeed.

The last time I checked, smearing American heroes with demonstrable lies is not a “traditional value.”

I am curious, though, how long the right will use Ted Kennedy as a foil in their messaging. He’s been a go-to target for decades, but I assumed after his passing in August 2009, the right would move on to other bogeymen.

But I guess old habits die hard. Last year, after the senator’s death, the American Life League created placards that read, “Bury Obamacare With Kennedy.” This week, it’s the Sheldons’ Traditional Values Coalition misusing Kennedy’s name.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.