The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is out with its first independent expenditure ad of the season, taking aim at Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN). The ad, according to Politico, paints Donnelly as “a pawn of Democratic leaders” and is just the first effort in the committee’s plan to “invest $22 million in 41 districts across the nation.” What’s interesting about the ad is that it goes after Donnelly for voting for legislation that many Republicans also supported.

The ad says Donnelly voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 88 percent of the time, including on the “Obama-Pelosi health care plan,” Wall Street bailout, and the “$800 billion stimulus that failed.”

I realize the Wall Street bailout is unpopular, but including it in ads like these really is foolish.

The NRCC is filled with slow learners, so let’s set the record straight again. The financial industry bailout was passed in October 2008. It was requested by a conservative Republican administration (George W. Bush and Dick Cheney). It was enthusiastically endorsed by the House Republican leadership (John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Roy Blunt), the Senate Republican leadership (Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl), both members of the Republican presidential ticket (John McCain and Sarah Palin), and assorted, high-profile conservative voices (Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck).

Indeed, after the Republicans’ would-be Speaker got choked up pleading with his colleagues to support the bailout, it was endorsed by none other than Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who happens to be the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Yes, that’s right, the NRCC is attacking a Democrat for voting the same way as the chairman of the NRCC.

Imagine if the DSCC ran an attack ad against Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for supporting the stimulus, because polls showed the stimulus to be unpopular, even though the DSCC leadership voted for the stimulus. It’d be laughable, right? This is the exact same thing.

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.