America’s mayor: Guiliani

From The Economist:

Rudypg1The calm unyielding (yet racially and religiously inclusive) leadership of Rudolph Giuliani on September 11th 2001 transformed the mayor of New York into a national hero, dubbed “America’s mayor” by Oprah Winfrey. To the outside world—then, as now, underwhelmed by the president of the explosion-shocked superpower—Mr Giuliani came to symbolise all that was most impressive about America’s response to the terrorist attacks. His heroism during the crisis has made “Sir” Rudy (he was knighted in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth) a potential candidate for the presidency in 2008. Yet it was but the remarkable final act of an eight-year reign in City Hall that required leadership just as heroic in much less obvious ways.

In Fred Siegel’s gripping and persuasive account of that reign, Mr Giuliani mostly comes across as the opposite of the unifying figure standing amid the ruins of the World Trade Centre. According to this modern retelling of Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, Mr Giuliani revived a city in seemingly irresistible decline by the determined application of a “corrupt wisdom” that confronted the conventional wisdom propagated by New York’s powerful interest groups (above all, the public-sector unions and Manhattan liberals). Strikingly, Rudy’s favourite aphorism, “I’d rather be respected than loved,” echoed Machiavelli’s “it is better to be feared than loved”.

More here.