Machiavelli had the good fortune always to be disappointed by the statesmen he met. None, it turned out, measured up to the situation; none was ready to act with the sharpness, decisiveness, and speed that the quality of the times demanded. It was good fortune, in a way, when you consider the moral and literary depths to which intellectuals can descend when they become entranced with a powerful figure. If that figure captures their admiration, their intelligence soon capitulates.
Machiavelli tried to find princes to admire, but when he found none he was forced to invent a Prince on paper.
-Patrick Boucheron, Machiavelli: The Art of Teaching People What To Fear