Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Change or Reform?

McCain-ObamaAn interesting development has arisen in the two political campaigns in the United States. Senator Barack Obama has been running a campaign on the platform of bringing change to the US government. Senator McCain has recently shifted the focus of his campaign to reform. The difference in meaning of these two words, change and reform, could be critical to the decision reached in the November presidential election.

Change means to shift to something different but reform means to improve on what is already in place. Senator McCain has been a consistent supporter of deregulation, privatization, and the war in Iraq, policies Senator Obama promises to end outright. The term reform suggests that McCain wishes to continue with these policies but with, as Governor Palin recently put it, some “shakin and fixin”.

I find the distinction reflected in the careful choices of these words interesting.


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