He squashed those attempts to portray him as rescuing the state departments from the mismanagement of Republicans, and now he's shying away from warning of the consequences of handing those departments back.

Perhaps he doesn't want to let negative energy seep in and detract from his positive aura. Despite repeated opportunities in our interview session to contrast the next four years under him versus another governor, Patrick declined to say anything about his competitors.

He needs to get down off that high horse. It's frankly weird and off-putting to have a politician come across as so positive, so reluctant to be critical.

If he cares so much about the people of the commonwealth, and believes so firmly that he is serving them well — and I believe he does — then he should be furious at the idea of people coming in to undo what progress he's made. He should be revved up about defending the territory for which he has fought.

It's that kind of intensity that is often lacking from Patrick — and, for that matter, Obama. It was missing also from Attorney General Martha Coakley, who failed to convey to voters a visceral horror at what Brown would do if elected.

That kind of intensity may not be what Carnegie and Peale advise in order to make the world love and admire and follow you. But these are not times for purely positive thinking; a touch of anger and a flash of outrage might be appropriate, too.

To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at dbernstein@phx.com.

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