Looking back at recent political history, one of the common features of wave elections is a nationally-known, toxic incumbent who becomes the face of the unpopular incumbent party. In 2006, Tom DeLay and Mark Foley were the unpopular faces of the Republican party whom Americans were forced to look at and hear about on the news each night. In 1994, it was people like Dan Rostenkowski. Can Republicans gain seats by tying endangered incumbents to John Murtha, and forcing them to defend their votes for his agenda? There's no way it can hurt.
To that end, the NRCC has launched a series of radio ads in swing seats represented by incumbent Democrats who voted for the 'stimulus' - including funding for the John Murtha airport. You can listen to the sample ad here, and get Jim Geraghty's take on it at Campaign Spot.
A move like this one pays a number of benefits. It should make Democrats worry about associating themselves with their party's leadership. It helps keep Murtha in the news in a negative light. It reminds the 9 targeted Members (Kissell, Shea-Porter, Herseth-Sandlin, Childers, Schrader, Arcuri, Snyder, Schauer, and Teague) that they are in the NRCC crosshairs, and may lead them to vote against the leadership more often. And lastly, it helps in recruiting by signaling to potential candidates that the NRCC is willing to spend money to defeat these Members.
If you're represented by one of these Members, and have the chance to ask why they're voting for Murtha's agenda, feel free to share the response you get.