On paper, Bill Richardson would seem like a reasonably strong Democratic candidate.

He’s a governor. Four of the last five men to win the White House have been governors, not Senate bloviation types. But as a former congressman, he understands the Beltway culture. . . .

But you could be forgiven if you missed the fact that Richardson jumped into the presidential sweepstakes on Sunday. He made the announcement on ABC’s “This Week,” but a number of papers ran wire stories yesterday.

One reason is that Richardson barely registers in the polls. But the other is that most journalists care only about Hillary and Obama at the moment. That’s their script, and they’re sticking to it. Which suggests a chicken-and-egg problem not just for Richardson, but for Chris Dodd, Tom Vilsack, Sam Brownback and a slew of others: How do you get media attention when you’re nowhere in the polls, even though if you got some media attention, you’d probably rise in the polls, thereby warranting more media attention?

He also lacks charisma. Obama has it. Hillary Clinton even has it, though in a form that turns a lot of people off — but negative reaction is still reaction. Richardson doesn’t, and the press picks up on that. That isn’t necessarily fatal (and charisma is overrated, though Bush is suffering now from his own lack thereof) but it definitely shows up in the form of less excitement in the press.