Centrists — adherents to the poorly defined combination of petulance toward partisan politics, social liberalism, and insistent capitalism — are, given their positions of prominence in business and the media, oddly insecure. From those prominent positions on Tuesday came analysis of the night's election results: America loves centrism.
Take New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie was reelected by an overwhelming margin. Christie is a centrist, per centrists. He's earned that status in two ways. First, he is not a far-right Tea Partier, as we've noted in the past (as though that required much noting). Second, he's willing to "work across the aisle" with Democrats. Never mind that Christie himself told CNN's Jake Tapper that "I'm a conservative. I've governed as a conservative in this state, and I think that's led to some people disagreeing with me." That's just him running for president, the centrists will argue. He is one of us.
That quote came from Tapper's embed with the governor on Election Day, a level of access, Tapper proudly told Capital New York, that he hasn't seen since he toured with John McCain on the "Straight Talk Express" in 2000. McCain, of course, is also claimed by centrists. Centrist politicians, unlike partisan Democrats and Republicans, give it to you straight. That's how you can spot a centrist politician: They won't tell you what you want to hear, they tell you the hard truths in plain terms. (Except when they say they're conservative; that's just political realism.)