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Was Hillary Too Good for America?

Ms. Giordano is a writer and public speaker who is interested in politics and history.

Was Hillary Clinton too good for America?

Was Hillary Clinton too good for America?

What Is the Meaning of “Miss Goody Two Shoes?”

“Miss Goody Two Shoes” is an expression I remember from my childhood. Perhaps you knew a Miss Goody Two Shoes. She was the smartest kid in the class, she always volunteered to help the teacher, and she obeyed all the rules. Some may have called her the teacher’s pet.

Miss Goody Two Shoes is not a compliment. The other kids didn’t like her very much. They resented her because she was better than them. I know. I used to be Miss Goody Two Shoes.

The term “Miss Goody Two Shoes” comes from a children’s story published in London in 1765, The History of Miss Goody Two Shoes. It is a variation of the Cinderella Story.

A poor girl—so poor she only has one shoe—is a very good and kind-hearted person. She eventually gets rewarded for her goodness by obtaining a second shoe and a rich husband. (At the time, the only way a poor girl could improve her lot was through marriage. I don’t approve of this story; I’m just explaining the origin of the phrase. )

Goody Two Shoes is an old fairy tale, a version of the Cinderella story.

Goody Two Shoes is an old fairy tale, a version of the Cinderella story.

Why Do I Call Hillary “Good?”

Good can mean well-qualified. Hillary Clinton has an impressive resume of government service.

  • She has a law degree from Yale.
  • She was the first lady of Arkansas, and then the first lady of the United States.
  • When her husband’s term as President ended, she ran for Senator for New York State. She was elected and won a second term with 67% of the vote.
  • She was Secretary of State for four years during President Obama’s first term. When she left office, her approval rating stood at 69%.(1)

No one could deny she was smart and hard-working and had a lot of the right kind of experience.

Good Can Mean Helping Others.

Hillary was very fond of telling people about her Methodist creed—“Do all the good you can for all the people you can, for as long as you can.”

She lived by this creed in her life and took a particular interest in helping children, especially poor children.

Good Can Mean Honesty.

An interviewer once asked her if she told the truth. She replied, “I always try to tell the truth.”

This was an honest answer, but she was mocked for it. Just think about it. All anyone can do is TRY to tell the truth. Sometimes we speak an untruth because we get the facts wrong. Also, as a person in high public office, there were probably times when she could not be truthful because to do so would require her to reveal classified information.

Good Can Mean Ethical.

During both the primary and presidential campaigns, Hillary ran a positive campaign. Unlike her opponents, she never promised more than she believed she could deliver. Her opponents made grandiose promises, but could never show how those plans would be paid for and how they could be passed into law by Congress. Hillary’s goals were more modest, but also more reality-based.

Hillary ran an ethical campaign against Bernie Sanders. She never attacked him personally, although she did point out that he was making promises without a solid plan for implementing them.

Unfortunately, Sanders did not keep his promise to run a positive issues-based campaign. He laid the groundwork for Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” attacks

Sanders attacked Hillary for giving some well-paid speeches for “Wall Street.” There was nothing crooked or unethical about this.

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  • Hillary was paid the going rate for former Senators and/or Secretaries of State. Corporations pay these high sums not to buy influence, but for the prestige, they get from having a high-profile speaker. In any event, Hillary was out of the office and had no influence to sell.
  • Hillary also gave speeches for modest sums, and even for free, for charitable groups.
  • Sanders boasted that he had not given any paid speeches, but never mentioned that this was because no one is legally allowed to be paid for speeches while they are in office.

Hillary also tried to run a dignified issue-oriented campaign against Trump, although Trump’s outrageous behavior made that very difficult for her. He called her “Crooked Hillary,” but she never resorted to name-calling, although there were plenty of names she could have called him.

Good Can Mean Selflessness.

When Hillary Clinton lost the nomination to Barack Obama in 2008 by a very small margin, she put ego and disappointment aside and instantly became his biggest fan and worked tirelessly to help him win. (Compare this to Bernie Sanders who sulked through the Democratic National Convention and gave Clinton only grudging support thereafter.)

Hillary has the kind of qualities we should want in a president.

Hillary has the kind of qualities we should want in a president.

Why Is Goodness Often Punished?

Have you heard of Schadenfreude? It is a German word that means the feeling of pleasure one gets from learning of the misfortunes of others. It is why we want to see the mighty brought low; why we want to take a successful person “down a peg or two.”

Schadenfreude progresses like this: This person is smart and good . . . this person is better than me . . . I don’t like this person . . . I want this person to fail. This feeling often comes from envy and jealousy.

I watched the media tear Hillary down with delight at every opportunity. No matter what Hillary said or did, they attacked her. It was like she had a “KICK ME” sign pinned to her back.

Schadenfreude is why, in America, the smartest, most qualified person does not always win the presidency. Kids don’t like nerds in school; and when they grow up, they don’t much like nerds in politics. People vote for the person they “would most like to have a beer with.” It is like they were voting for King of the Prom instead of voting for the leader of the free world.

All of the negative stuff you have heard about Hillary is bogus. It was cooked up by political enemies. Minor issues were blown up to be giant scandals and often the criticisms against her were just outright lies.

Too many people were too ready to believe the worst. Why? Schadenfreude! We’ve got to take her down a peg or two!

Hillary Was Not Good at Campaigning

Hillary may be a good person, but the one thing she is not good at is campaigning.

  • Hillary is a dull speaker—she tends to speak robotically. Why couldn’t she learn from President Obama? He was very smart, but he knew how to get folksy. Or Michelle Obama who knew how to touch hearts. Or Senator Elizabeth Warren who knew how to speak with passion.
  • Hillary comes across as a dull person. I have heard that she is warm and witty in private, but she never learned how to incorporate that into her public persona. I think the many candidates play a part and give a performance--Hillary did not know how, or did not want, to do that.

Politics favors the mud-slinger. This puts women at a disadvantage because women are brought up to be nice. And when a woman is not nice, she gets called “a nasty woman.” It’s not easy to sling mud nicely.

Hillary Is Good, But Not Perfect

Although I strongly admire Hillary, I think she has some personality flaws (as everyone does).


Hillary can come across as arrogant. Here are some examples of how this arrogance may have cost her the election.

  • My guess is she said something that antagonized James Comey and that is why, despite finding that she had not committed any crime, he broke the FBI norm about not speaking publically about the subject of an investigation. He exonerated her, but then made a damning public statement.
  • I think she did not see any need to balance the ticket because she was so sure she would win. Instead of choosing a charismatic VP who would have a strong appeal to a particular demographic group that she needed to win, she chose someone as white-bread boring as she was.
  • In my opinion, she did not deploy surrogates well, perhaps because she felt she did not need them. For instance, her daughter, Chelsea, should have been on the stump talking about Hillary as a loving mom and grandmother and as a warm and kind human being. Perhaps Hillary did not understand that she needed this kind of humanizing.


Hillary seems so strong, so competent and in control, but underneath she just might be a very needy person. I think she has a strong desire for public acceptance and to have her goodness recognized.

One reason I say this because of her annoying habit of nodding her head in agreement—mainly when others are speaking, but sometimes when she herself is speaking. She nods so much that the Trump team used it in an ad—a video clip of Hillary nodding was speeded up and used to suggest that she had Parkinson’s disease.

Actually, this type of nodding is not uncommon. I think it shows a strong need for approval. Body language experts tell us that it is meant to say, “I’m listening,” “I understand,” “I sympathize,” “I agree.” It is a way to bond with other people(2).

I think Hillary has adopted this habit to compensate for a cold demeanor and to get other people to like her and approve of her. During the campaign, Hillary was often called a bitch; I wish she had actually shown some bitchiness.

America was the big loser in the 2016 election.

America was the big loser in the 2016 election.

Hillary Fought the Good Fight

Enough blaming the victim! Hillary did not run a perfect campaign and she was not a perfect candidate. But no campaign is perfect and no candidate is perfect. We should remember that she got three million more votes than Trump and lost the election only because a quirk of the Electoral College turned the loss of 77,000 votes across three states into the loss of the presidency.

Throughout the campaign, it was nearly impossible for Hillary to defend herself against all the outrageous charges leveled against her without being accused of refusing to accept responsibility. (Here is another area where she could have used surrogates more effectively.)

Hillary was faced with an unprecedented barrage of attacks: Russian meddling (the extent of which is only now becoming apparent), Comey’s outrageous interference, WikiLeaks, media malpractice, voter suppression, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and a strong backlash among white Americans angry about their loss of undeserved privilege.

Hillary’s treatment by the media is particularly infuriating. Trump received far more TV airtime.(3) Trump’s speeches were carried in full; Hillary’s speeches were cut off after a few minutes. Hillary’s strength was policy, but the media only wanted to cover the scandal. I remember watching Hillary give a policy speech when the MSNBC anchor, cut her off saying, “We’ll return if she says anything about her emails.”

Hillary has written a book, a campaign memoir, What Happened. In the book, she accepts responsibility for her own mistakes but also rebels against accepting total and unconditional blame. She writes, “If it’s all my fault, then the media doesn’t need to do any soul searching.” In my opinion, the media definitely needs to do some soul searching and accept responsibility for the damage they did to the country.

Did Hillary Over-Estimate the Goodness of the American People?

Hillary is so firmly convinced of her own goodness that she expected that it would be obvious to others. In her new book, What Happened, she writes

“I didn’t think many Americans would believe that I’d sell a lifetime of principle and advocacy for any price. When you know why you’re doing something and you know there’s nothing more to it and certainly nothing sinister, it’s easy to assume that others will see it the same way.”

Hillary’s mistake was overestimating the goodness of the American electorate. I too felt that the American people were good people, and they would never vote for a narcissistic greedy bully like Donald Trump. Both she and I were wrong.

Miss Goody Two Shoes is only rewarded in fairy tales.

A Very Personal Account of the Campaign

What Is Your Opinion of Hillary Clinton?

What Is Your Opinion of Donald Trump?


(1) Politifact: Hillary Clinton's Pre-Campaign Approval Ratings

(2) Presidential Campaign 2016: Candidate Television Tracker Airtime Graph

© 2017 Catherine Giordano


Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on February 02, 2018:

Jack Lee: "Fire and Fury" is not a work of fiction, but I do see why you could be confused about that--it is hard to believe that a president and an administration would behave so badly. Just keep in mind the old adage--truth is stranger than fiction.

As for Hillary Clinton, she is a private citizen and she can appear in a comedy sketch if she wants to. She holds no public office and is unlikely to ever do so again. Further,

there is a long tradition of presidents appearing in comedy sketches on TV, for instance, SNL, the Catholic Charities Dinner, and the Correspondent's Dinner. We can debate whether this is appropriate or not, but it is definitely not unusual.

Finally, it is odd that you ask a former presidential candidate who lost the election to behave in a "presidential" manner, but you apparently don't expect the actual president to do so.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on January 31, 2018:

Hillary was a far more moral, even Godly (if you go in for that sort of thing, which much of the US does) person than Trump has ever or is capable of ever being.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on January 31, 2018:

Hillary showing up at the Grammy and reading a fictional book attacking Trump is unbecoming of any politician or women for that matters, and un-Presidential. I for one am glad she is not sitting in the Oval office.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on January 31, 2018:

Liz: Hillary was not perfect and I did not always agree with her choices. However, I don't understand how you can say she was "disgustingly immoral" and an "outright criminal." It sounds like you have been reading too much from the Russian bots.

Liz on January 30, 2018:

It wasn't that she was too good. Quite the opposite actually. Many people who I knew either voted for Trump or opted not to vote because she has a history of disgustingly immoral behavior far worse than Trump's. During the election time the only two pros for Trump had seemed to be that he was a successful business man and not a polotician.

With Hilary, the only dubious benefit was that she knew the playing field. Her being a woman was no virtue. Being female myself I want our first female president to be a genuinely great president that leaves a positive legacy behind. Hilary would not have done that.

Reading your article I wonder if you have ever looked at both sides of the equasion without dismissing her critics out of hand. All sources of media have a bias and in order to determine where the truth lies opposing news sources must be compared. What both agree upon is often where the truth is found. Unfortunately, both agree that Hilary has done some pretty dubious if not outright criminal things that go against your singing of praises here.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on October 24, 2017:

Deanna: She has had an admirable life and career. She would have been an admirable president, especially compared to what we got instead.

Deanna on October 24, 2017:

I have followed Hilllary's path since her first appearance on the cover of Life magazine for her valedictorian speech at Vassar. I admire her and marvel at her accomplishments.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 26, 2017:

Kendall: Thank you for comment. This last presidential election really exposed a fault like in America. It is now a time of upheaval. As Martin Luther King said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." on September 25, 2017:

I love Hillary Clinton She is a national treasure! She is brilliant, hardworking and a very descent and caring person. America doesn't deserve her. She is too good for this misogynistic and racist hell scape of a country!

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 25, 2017:

Arlene Russell: I wish the Constitution said that when a president is impeached the runner-up gets to be president. It doesn't work that way. Here's my idea. In 2018, Hillary runs for Congress and the Democrats become the majority in Congress and they elect Hillary to be Speaker. Then Mueller completes his investigation and both Trump and Pence are impeached for high crimes. Hillary then becomes president.

Arlene Russell on September 25, 2017:

Hillary Clinton should be sworn in today after Trump is impeached because he is unfit. We are ripe for takeover. Perhaps that is the plan...

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 24, 2017:

KarenHotlen: Both Trump and Pence must be impeached for their role in the Russian attack on our election. But not until the Dems are the majority in the House. We don't want President Ryan.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 24, 2017:

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it. Hilary said it was hard to write her book because it brought back memories that were painful to deal with. Likewise, it was had for me to write this article.

KarenHotlen. on September 24, 2017:

Russia and Trump , Pence and his camps in stole the election. Hillary should be President not Trump who we know cheated and hopefully will be impeach along with all those who were involved..

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 24, 2017:

Jim Shirey: As you point out there are almost an infinite number of reasons why Hillary did not win in the Electoral College. Some of these reasons were her fault, but many were not. This article focus on just one of them. Being a good person trying to run an issues-oriented campaign does not match up with what a large segment of America wants.

Annette Smith on September 24, 2017:

Very insightful and I think accurate assessment. Thanks for writing.

Jim Shirey on September 23, 2017:

i voted for hillary because trump is nuts, and every day he has shown himself to be worse than i had imagined. but hillary is not the same person i met when she visited our town twice back in the 90s. she said herself during the campaign that she and bill had been living such high class lives that maybe they were out of touch with ordinary people. they are, as was made clear by the majority of voting white women supported her opponent. she also said herself quite recently that she was not prepared to run against a candidate like trump and did not change her campaign strategy when trump won. that was a serious failure of leadership on her part. there were others: failing to rally in swing states while trump was there beating the bushes, clearly identifying herself with the finance industry at a time when that industry was despised, shoving sanders supporters off the table after the primaries were over. nor did she have a clear message to attract voters. she portrayed herself as obama's third term at a time when working people saw the vast majority of the recovery going to the very people who caused it. her strongest message was "i ain't the other guy." while that is a subtext in any election, it cannot stand on its own. russia had nothing to do with any of that. misogyny had nothing to do with any of that. the changing nature of the electorate had nothing to do with that. it was pure hillary all the way ... one fatal error after another. she has no one to blame but herself.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 22, 2017:

Catherine Motley: Thank you for your comment. We are only now learning of how extensive the fake news campaign was and how much of it came from Russia. They even organized phony grass-root rallies for Trump.

There was nothing comparable on Hillary's side. It was overwhelming and with each passing day it looks more and more like the Trump campaign and Trump himself colluded with the Russians.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 22, 2017:

Jack Lee: You repeat the vicious lies that Hillary has had to endure her whole life. America deserves better citizens, the kind that take the time to be informed.

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on September 22, 2017:

WOW, are you tone deaf? Hillary ran the worst campaign in modern history. With help from the DNC and the Obama White House, and billion dollar war chest, she lost to a new comer outsider Trump with lots of his own baggage.

She is the worst candidate period. She only won her Senate seat with the support of Bill Clinton. without him, she is weak and corrupt and...two faced...

She is not too good for America, America deserves better politicians.

Catherine Mostly from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD on September 21, 2017:

Sarah Palin was able to 'say anything' like Trump because she was a conservative who 'talked like' her fellow Christian extremists did (Fox & Friends, yippee!!) - and in fact, it was the reason why she was offered the VP position with McCain: to make it appear that they were catering to their base. McCain may very well have won against Obama without that stupid 'trick'.

Hillary was a completely different story - she's had to deal with fake news about herself since her husband was in office. Decades of fake news on top of Russian manipulative 'fake news' against her - was the main reason why she lost. How could anyone have fought against the fake crap piled high against her?

People who didn't come out to vote for her didn't for the same reason that T-fans voted for him: they believed the fake news about her as much as anyone. Most people who didn't vote, didn't want Trump - but they also didn't want Hillary cuz she was supposedly the 'worst candidate ever'. So, they let the cards fall where they fell.

Bernie supporters... don't get me started. If Bernie had won, our country would be in the same restless state (admittedly, without nearly as much divisive potus rhetoric). He ran on a platform that was an afront to conservatives; and as unlikely to get a majority of the American people behind it, as anything Trump ran on. Either candidate would have put us in this ugly situation - although, who would have felt better about North Korea right now if Bernie had won? LoL!

Our country is still incredibly misogynistic - and that was my biggest disappointment about Trump winning. He embodies hatefulness; but he was considered to be a BETTER candidate than Hillary?! We're misogynistic and we don't seem to care much about racism, either. Yeah, huge disappointment - aside from all the other actually harmful stuff.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on September 21, 2017:

There is this totally erroneous image surrounding Hillary. At the end of the day I find myself asking, are there more sexists in the world than racists?

She would have been totally competent, and that compounded with the fact she's a women just makes some people so mad.

I was a big Sanders supporter, but when it turned out that just wasn't going to happen, I gladly voted Hillary, but I wasn't really vocal about it. I regret that.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 21, 2017:

Larry Rankin: I think a big part of the reason that Trump won was not because he won the racist vote, but because some of the non-racists did not vote. Some of the people who came out for Obama did not come out for Hillary. Whatever their reasons, they were wiling to stand by and let a racist become president of America. It's such a shame.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 21, 2017:

Dora Isaac Withers: Thanks for your comment. I'm pleased to learn that you agree that Hillary was a good person. She was so unfairly maligned during the campaign.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on September 21, 2017:

A population can only evolve so quick.

My theory is that after Obama had done such a stellar job, it was too much of a jump to hope we could get another president in that was different than the status quo.

The racists just got too uncomfortable. It isn't just that they were different, but that on top of that they were competent. Too much at odds with their world view.

Sanders probably would've lost for the same reason. A moderate male Democrat WASP would've won in a walk, and at least there wouldn't have been such a regression, but Hillary would've probably missed her shot.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 21, 2017:

"Hillary’s mistake was overestimating the goodness of the American electorate." I agree with this and most of the opinions you stated. Not perfect, but who is? Good read about a good woman!

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 20, 2017:

Catherine Mostly: you are right--women have to be super good in every sense of the word. Could a little bit of sass have helped her? Perhaps,perhaps not. As to your references to dirt, I think Hillary was the most clean candidate ever. Most of the so-called dirt was manufactured; just plain lies. And Hillary wan't allowed to defend herself. I have never seen anyone in public life treated as badly as she was.

Sarah Palin got away with going rogue; maybe because it was her brand. Hillary's brand was being good, and too many people just don't like good.

Catherine Mostly from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD on September 19, 2017:

I think part of the issue for Hillary 'as a woman' was that if she had not been a goodie-two-shoes, it is highly-unlikely that she would have made it as far as she did. Men seem to be able to get away with being a bit rogue - and it is even considered to be a desired trait for them.

But, considering when Hillary started her career - long before Trump made saying any crude thing acceptible - she HAD to 'be good' (in fact, MUCH better behaved than most men she worked with).

Of course, when you're in a career like politics for that long, though, you end up getting dirty. If Hillary had been a white male politician, she would be president right now. Like I said, she had to be good - extra good; with absolutely no political dirt having acculuted on her over the decades - at all - like so many of her male peers.

I'm not sure any woman could be good enough for this country for at least a couple more decades. I don't think our collective citizenship is quite mature enough to handle it yet, LoL!

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 19, 2017:

marjorie: Thank you so much for your comment. You truly understand what I was going for in this article. So many people read only the headline and think I am attacking Hillary. I am only trying to shed some insight on why so many people hated Hillary so much. She was the best this country had to offer. A decent self-sacrificing person who could have been a great president. I could always sleep easy when Obama was president, and it would have been the same with Hillary. I'm afraid Trump is going to get us all killed.

marjorie on September 19, 2017:

Your article moved me to tears. I hope I live to see this exceptional woman understood, appreciated, and validated. Thank you for your passionate expose of what happened in the subjective, gruelling, surreal defeat of HRC, the most qualified presidential candidate in decades. We will all live (or die) with the consequences.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 19, 2017:

I see your point. No names but I know a gal from Vietnam. Hillary went with Bill. Her speaking and presence was a huge influence. It spurred her on to be more than she thought she could be.

But time takes it's toll on politicians.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 18, 2017:

Duane Townsend: Thank for the compliment on my writing. I didn't mean "too good" in a snobby way. I meant that Hillary is a good person and goodness is not too often rewarded in American politics. I'm sorry I was unable to persuade you to at least give Hillary a little credit for her decency.

Duane Townsend from Detroit on September 18, 2017:


Framing Hillary as being "too good for us" is exactly why people didn't take her or the Democrats seriously.

I think you're a good writer and I enjoy reading your Hubs.

But, on this issue I highly disagree.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 18, 2017:

Eric Dierker: Thanks for your comment, I did not mean that merely being married to a president makes someone worthy of admiration. However, Hillary was a very involved First Lady, and thus gained a lot of experience in governance. Not every thing she did during that time was successful, but she was definitely involved, more so than any prior or subsequent First Lady. Contrast Hillary with Melania who so far has done very little more than stand alongside her husband for photo ops.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 18, 2017:

Again very well written. I certainly would think that labeling being married to a certain man as a criteria is sexist. I just cannot think of anyone I admire because of that.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 18, 2017:

Hari Presad S: Thanks for letting me know you liked it.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 18, 2017:

FlourishAnyway: Thanks for your comment. Something is very wrong in our country when movie stars who know nothing about governing (remember Arnold Schwarzenegger who wrecked the economy of California) and other media stars get elected. Now I hear Kid Rock wants to run for president! Vote Republican, Democrat, or Independent, but vote for someone with experience and knowledge. Remember the old commercial: "I am not a doctor, but I play one on TV." You wouldn't have let that guy operate on you so why will you let an actor can run the government?

Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on September 17, 2017:

Enjoyed reading your article Catherine.


FlourishAnyway from USA on September 17, 2017:

I agree with you wholeheartedly. We should seek well qualified, competent policy wonks over billionaires, mud slingers, and dim witted people who haven't read a book in their entire adult life. Bernie and all of the left extremists bear accountability as well as the media and of course the alt right. You nailed it.

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