Control of the center is valuable in tic-tac-toe, chess, and mapmaking. Notice how maps of the world generally have their market strongholds in the center: European maps generally have the Western Hemisphere on the left, the Eastern on the right; Japanese maps generally have the Western Hemisphere on the right, the Eastern on the left; American maps generally split the Eastern Hemisphere in two so the United States can be in the middle.
In describing politics, professorial liberals for half a century have tended to put communism on the left, fascism on the right, and themselves in the vital center. That's illogical: Both communists and fascists are proponents of big government and purveyors of strong-arm tactics. It's no accident that the Nazis were National Socialists who had much in common with the international socialists of their era. Both Stalin and Hitler bossed business.
Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism (Doubleday, 2008) is a flawed but useful attempt to redraw the political map. Goldberg shows how Woodrow Wilson began and Franklin Roosevelt amplified an almost-fascist concentration of power in Washington. FDR boasted of his "wholesome and proper" buildup of power because he was leading "a people's government." Goldberg shows how liberals came to believe that authoritarian government is fine as long as representatives of "the people"-themselves-are in charge.