New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has always struck THE SCRAPBOOK as one of those guys who read the Cliffs Notes version of Machiavelli -- "It is better to be feared than loved" -- and thought this was just the coolest thing he had ever heard. But of course if he'd read further, he would have learned that a prince should want to be loved and feared, while realizing that fear is more reliable in a pinch, since the people can withdraw their love but they can't withhold their fear.

These days, though, the mayor seems to have neither fear nor love going for him. His approval rating has descended to 40 percent from a high of 74 percent in February 1998. A media drumbeat over the February 4 police shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo seems to be a factor in pushing Giuliani's numbers down. But still he has refused to join the liberal chorus that blames Diallo's death on systemic racism in the New York Police Department.

Indeed, the latest poll numbers last week elicited a statement that was echt Giuliani, almost poetic in its blunt matter-of-factness: "I have a pretty good sense of the media, of the direction and how it spins things, and I also have a sense of the things I could say that would quickly make me more popular. But I don't believe them so I'm not going to say them." How refreshing. A few more statements like that, and we might start to love the guy.