Reader R.P. forwarded me a Memorial Day message sent out by Kevin DeWine, the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. It starts off with a sentiment that’s easy to agree with.

“As we gather with family to enjoy Memorial Day weekend at ball games and barbeques, let us not forget the generations of Americans who have fought to preserve our rights and liberties here at home. Their sacrifices are woven into the fabric of America and will forever define us as a nation.”

So far, so good. But DeWine couldn’t leave well enough alone.

“Here in Ohio, we must continue to defend liberty in a very different kind of struggle. Ohioans have the opportunity to preserve their rights when it comes to choosing their own health care. Democracy affords us the choice of accepting or fighting back to prevent against a $1 trillion government takeover of our nation’s health care system.

“You can download the Health Care Freedom Amendment petition by clicking here. As you go to events this weekend in honor of our Armed Forces and the sacrifices made by generations of courageous Americans, I hope you will consider taking the petition with you and circulating it to your friends and family.”

Seriously? Are we really to believe that American veterans who paid with their lives did so to protect insurance companies’ ability to screw over consumers?

DeWine’s message is obviously dishonest — the Affordable Care Act isn’t a “government takeover,” and it doesn’t cost $1 trillion — but what’s tasteless about the message is the timing. It’s ostensibly a Memorial Day message, honoring the fallen during a time of war, but the subject line reads, “Help Stop Obamacare.”

Worse, this Republican leader wants people to annoy their friends and family with far-right nonsense as they observe Memorial Day, as if that’s an appropriate way to recognize the holiday.

Even by GOP standards, this is cheap. There are plenty of ways to honor fallen American servicemen and women, but this shameless partisan message isn’t one of them.

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.