Experience has taught her to be private
I’ve read enough and talked to enough Clinton antagonists to understand why people distrust her (which isn’t to say I agree). The problem itself stems from Clinton’s private nature (others would say secretive, and that’s not necessarily incorrect — she’s not inclined to extraordinary transparency), which has been a perceived issue since 1994.
In response to a question from a reporter about letting scandals “fester” by not immediate jumping to full transparency, she replied: “My sense of privacy — because I do feel like I’ve always been a fairly private person leading a public life — led me to perhaps be less understanding than I needed to of both the press and the public’s interest as well as right to know things about my husband and me,” she said. And apparently she hasn’t really learned that privacy doesn’t go over too well when you’re a prominent political figure.
The Clinton Administration
It’s worth looking at why Clinton is so private because doing so adds depth to the character. Long ago, during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and the couple years of her presidency, Hillary often shared “her deepest thoughts and feelings,” including a speech she gave on “the politics of meaning” as her “father laying dying.” The media, left and right, “ridiculed” that speech for its preacher-esque tone and theme. She gave open interviews in which, unlike today, she did not sound overly scripted and disciplined. But negative press coverage as well as the ceaseless attacks that naturally come during a presidential campaign (the Gennifer Flowers controversy, answering for Bill’s infidelities knowing that any response would be attacked by different groups, Whitewater, Bill’s Vietnam draft record, etc) left her distrustful and increasingly secretive. She didn’t want her words to incite controversy or be used against her, a product of natural being and being a lawyer.
Those experiences shaped the private Hillary we know today. Really, to understand why she falls short in transparency, we have to understand her thinking. Clinton truly believe(s/d) that immediate and complete transparency invites dramatic backlash through public inquiries, media attacks, and political weaponry. So to avoid that, or minimize its negative effects, she opts for privacy.
A Logical Decision Regardless of Whether You Agree
Now, I, and probably most other Americans, would come to the opposite conclusion and, even if sympathetic towards Clinton, wish she would simply embrace transparency as controversies arise. Withholding information or otherwise dragging out alleged scandals only worsens them as people equate secrecy with wrongdoing and the media can focus day in and day out on the scandals, extrapolating or otherwise guessing as information remains woefully incomplete. It’s more than reasonable to believe Clinton came to the wrong conclusion about privacy and to criticize her for the pervasive secrecy, but I do think it’s important to at least understand her position so we can view her actions as those of a rational human being with a valid — but likely not sound — argument about the (political) virtues of secrecy (in this search for understanding, I should also mention the truly outlandish conspiracies that further Clinton’s privacy: Vince Foster and Seth Rich’s deaths, which many in the “fever swamps” believe to be part of a Clinton crime conspiracy, and Pizzagate, another delusion which actually led someone to shoot up a DC pizza parlor).
So Clinton made the ill-fated decision to ignore transparency and instead act in an incredibly private manner. This has rightfully come with political costs. The president has the most prominently public office in the world. We expect openness and transparency from the president and rightfully so — the head of state and government, the leader of the free world, should not be hiding from his or her constituents.