CAMPAIGN NARRATIVE WATCH….E.J. Dionne notes today that Democrats do pretty well in national polls until actual names are plugged into the questions. Then the Dems start to sink. Why? Bob Somerby thinks he knows:

Why do voters want a Democratic president — until the candidates’ names are mentioned? Dionne doesn’t say, but we’ll offer an obvious answer: This “performance gap” is a reaction to the mainstream press corps’ messaging in the past several years — messaging in which demon tales have been dumped on Big Dems, with hero tales fashioned for Reps.

Do McCain and Giuliani run ahead of their party? Yes — and why would that be a surprise? McCain has been praised for eight years for his mighty “straight talk,” even when he flips and reinvents madly. Giuliani has been endlessly tagged as “America’s mayor.” In short, the mainstream press corps tends to recite these pols’ slogans for them, as we’ve recorded many times.

By way of contrast, let’s just say this isn’t a problem Hillary Clinton has been forced to endure.

Who knows? Maybe one advantage of the absurdly early campaign season this year will be to help Dems out by letting the press get all the idiot stories out of their system before the public is paying attention. Alternatively, maybe a year from now their desperation for newer and even more idiotic stories will be all-consuming after all the obvious narratives have been used up. Vote for your prediction in comments. I’m a pessimistic sort, so I guess I’ll go with option 2.

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