Straddling/ sitting "on the fence"
Posted by SR on January 12, 2005
In Reply to: Sitting on the fence posted by David FG on January 12, 2005
: : Please could anyone let me know what the meaning is behind the saying "sitting on the fence".
: Neither in one camp nor the other. Taking the middle position.
This is from an archived response by ESC.
ON THE FENCE - "undecided, unwilling to take a position, straddling.The term blossomed in 1828 and was probably in use before that.Carl Schurz, insisting on political independence, described his position (according to James Blaine) 'as that of a man sitting on a fence, with clean boots, watching carefully which way he may leap to keep out of the mud.'." From "Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993).