As Malcolm Turnbull’s Facebook friends will already know, the modern politician must deal with a range of alternate realities.

There’s reality as reality, there’s reality as presented through the analysis of Dennis Shanahan … and there’s online reality, on an altogether weirder and more experimental plane than even Dennis’s take on the latest Newspoll.

The Americans, counting down the months to presidential nominations are now even lowering their toes into the weirdly translucent waters of Second Life, Democrats leading the way. We can’t wait to see Hillary Clinton’s avatar — maybe she’ll go black to take it to Obama? Or Kevin Rudd’s for that matter — who may not opt to turn negroid in the present emergency — because presumably the tech-lessons of this burgeoning US online campaign will be quickly adopted by our politicians in their own race later this year. George W Bush may even opt to solve the real war on terror in Second Life instead. 

If only politics in First Life were as simple. For one thing there are grocery prices to remember. Paul Keating famously forget the price of bread when quizzed by Ray Martin, and yesterday Peter Costello fumbled for the price of a pack of tampons. This morning Kevin Rudd managed reasonable approximations when asked the price of milk and bread, all of which just goes to show the distance between political life and the day-to-day first life reality experienced by political constituents. Because sometimes politics is second life for real.