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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.

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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.

  • 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).

Arrogance

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.

Neediness

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?

References

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

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

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Catherine Giordano

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