It literally, actually, truly means nothing.
Let me explain. What’s centrist? If you simply define yourself as being halfway between Republicans and Democrats, then one party only needs to become more ideologically polar to move you. If it means compromising, then I don’t understand how Obama doesn’t work for you. But say you want to borrow a few ideas from each side. Then it’s ridiculous.
You could have (literally, mathematically) millions of possible centrisms by mixing just a few positions from each side that have no positions in common. You could be right wing on terrorism, liberal on progressive taxation, believe in global warming, and be anti-abortion. Or any combination of those and you would have a definitive issue that put you at odds with any other “theoretical” centrist party.
That is why Tom Friedman and Matt Miller are full of shit, as Ezra points out in a slightly different way. He more or less says Obama already is the compromise candidate. He’s very right. The fact that a number of people are confused by the moustache of globalism into thinking Obama is left wing shows the truth of my first contention—that radicalization by one party undermines the ability to be “centrist” in a “purple state” way.
Somehow I think some people want an Obama administration with a white face. Some people want an Obama administration with a spine. Finally, and I think this is most Americans who have soured on the President, are just sick and tired of this era in our history and, for right or wrong, Obama is associated with it.