Authenticity is a prized but rare commodity in politics. Few politicians are credited with having it to begin with; it is even more difficult to maintain during a political career. Part of the problem is that when politicians seek to understand and please the amorphous public, they generally turn to pollsters and advisers who end up scripting their words, campaigns and governing strategies. These gurus will even inform them what food is most appropriate (sandwiches with regular mustard, not Dijon, as one of Obama’s aides told him during a visit to a diner in southern Illinois). Public appearances are selected based on voter resonance, though sometimes with jarring results, as with the appearance of then New South Wales premier, the urbane non-motorist Bob Carr, at the opening of a drag-car racing track. Male politicians are told to wear earthy colours to appear more manly. Those who end up on a television debate are advised to keep away the frowns and scowls, even when their opponents twist the truth.