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Imagine the giant floats of Barney the Dinosaur, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, Dumbo, Blutto, and the Diaper Trump Balloon all crashing on the diminutive Dora the Explorer.
Now, imagine Rudy Giuliani, his cronies, Len Parnas and Igor Furman, Mike Pompeo and Donald Trump hurtling and thrashing at Marie Yovanovitch.
That's what it felt like watching Ambassador Yovanovitch testify during Friday's public impeachment hearings about the last few months of her tenure as the U.S. Charge in Ukraine -- a bunch of bombastic, bloated, billowing boyish brutes pushing around, then pushing out, a highly-intelligent, competent, capable, vastly qualified, dedicated public servant.
Then I thought of another analogy that made for a much better metaphor -- and more sense. It was like Tony Soprano, Big Pussy, Silvio, Vito and Paulie beating up Dr. Melfi in "Bada Bing," then pushing her outside to view through a window a show she didn't want to see and was horrified to watch.
It was mafia-like and nauseating to hear what happened to the ambassador. How do you repudiate and replace a celebrated 30-year veteran of the State Department when she's done absolutely nothing wrong? When she was executing her work professionally, successfully and to the best of her ability? You malign and mischaracterize her, you ignore her, you push her out. But you have a woman, yes a woman, from the State Department call her and tell her she has 24 hours to get out. To paraphrase their conversation, "Why do I have to go so quickly?" the ambassador asked. "I really don't know?" questioned the woman back. It's because the group of male mafia thugs decided that the woman had to go, because she'd stand in the way of their attempt to corrupt; thus, have a woman call and tell her, so it doesn't feel so bad.
And then to add insult to injury, as I predicted last week, a threatening lie of a tweet from Trump about Yovanovitch vomits over the hearing. "Witness intimidation?" intoned Chairman Schiff. The ambassador agreed. What else could it possibly be? It was at this point, I longed for someone on the committee to plead to the television cameras, and speaking to Trump, utter the famous line from the McCarthy communist hearings from the 1950s, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
There was no sense of decency directed at Ambassador Yovanovitch. To Giuliani and Trump, she was like one of the six wives they have between them, you're in the way of our dirty deeds, we have no interest in your innocence, you're old news, pack your bags and get out, and don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. She was replaced by a man, William Taylor, probably because the boorish boys figured he'd toe the line. Well, he turned out to be the consummate patriot, just like his predecessor.
At the beginning and towards the middle of the hearing, the Republicans on the committee kept pushing for the only woman on their side, Representative Elise Stefanik, to question the witness, and also utter nonsense about the whistleblower. I thought for a moment they were going to hide behind Stefanik for the remainder of the hearing, like they did with a female attorney during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings that weighed Christine Blasey Ford's attempted rape accusations. Stefanik finally got her chance to speak, multiple times, daintily sprinkled between the other men above and around her (sound familiar?).
The Republicans on the committee then proceeded to treat the ambassador somewhat like Trump and Giuliani treated her while she was the ambassador. Before the hearing they were wondering; Why she was there? What purpose did she serve? What did she have to do with anything? What information could she possibly have? Most of them began by flattering her, then they went on to make pointless and irrelevant comments, almost ignoring that she was sitting there.
She was there to explain the incredible work that has been done in past years to help rid Ukraine of corruption. About how she led efforts, and honored women who helped fight the good fight, ousting the bad guys, and aiding and instilling a sense of justice. She was there to talk about how much of an advocate she was for Ukraine, and for the causes and policies of anti-corruption that the United States has consistently stood for around the world, particularly in Ukraine.
And she was there to talk about what it was like to be kicked out of job for no reason and be the sinister focus of comments about by the president of the Unites States during a phone call with the newly-elected President Zelensky of Ukraine. Trump cruelly, ignorantly and maliciously said that she was "bad news." Trying to infer that she was corrupt, when what Trump was really doing was validating the legitimate corrupt thugs he was trying to encircle Zelensky with. I found it ironic that each time Yovanovitch was asked about Parnas and Furman, she made sure to mention that they have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York.
Let's hope that we have "bad news" ahead for some of the other bulling buddies and that a few other bloated, boyish balloons can be added to the parade of indicted -- and convicted!
JohnCasey is a PR professional and an adjunct professor at Wagner College in New York City, and a frequent columnist for The Advocate. Follow John on Twitter @johntcaseyjr.