In the classic Rorschach test, the psychoanalyst shows a patient a bunch of inkblots and asks what each looks like. The responses are supposed to help guide the psychoanalysis by offering insight into the patient’s idiosyncratic perspective. The test has its critics, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but it can offer a fascinating insight into the human mind. If every inkblot is perceived by the patient as another implement or accessory used in baseball, we may very well be dealing with a baseball fan. (As for Hermann Rorschach himself, he spent so much of his boyhood in Switzerland making inkblots that he was known as Klex or “Inkblot.” Go figure. So let your kids make a mess. They may be on to something.)
I have not been watching the “impeachment” hearings because (i) I have a life, (ii) I am busy, (iii) the little smidgeons I have caught at snack time have been boring, (iv) I am not going to let two charlatans like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff dictate how I spend my time, and (v) I access enough variegated news sources daily that I can get the gist of each day’s circus in a fraction of the time. If I want to know about Marie Yovanovitch, for example, I am not going to rely on Mourning Joe and Mika, on Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews. Instead, I do my own independent research.
By now it seems clear that the “impeachment” hearings are a Rorschach test, with Adam Schiff the most notable ink splotch. It is what you want to see. If you hate Trump, everything is impeachable. If you love Trump, everything is impeccable. And regardless of your Trump feelings, everything is imperceptible.
So you get this joker named Gordon Sondland, who is America’s ambassador to a conglomeration of countries who populate a continent that matters only when they launch wars, invade, and start killing each other — and then need American boys to die in the hundreds of thousands in order to help them sort things out and solve the mess they have created for themselves. Then, after we have done so, they do not pay their fair share of those very NATO defenses that guard their French derrières, replete with accent grave, expecting us to keep supporting them. We saved their butts before there even was a NATO, and 116,456 Americans had to die during World War I. Then they messed up again for the next two decades because West Europeans are effete and so obsessed with their class manners and their rules of savoir faire and their socialist welfare states and their early retirements that they did not have the character to stand up to Hitler in the 1930s. Peace in our time. So we had to send another 405,399 Americans to die for them during World War II. Presently they go by the name “European Union,” the successor to previous joint ventures of theirs like the “Common Market” and, before that, “World War II”/“The Great War”/“The Wars of the Roses”/“The Hundred Years War” and other such Lilliputian endeavors.
So Sondland shows up with an opening statement, saying there was a “quid pro quo.” Suddenly, all of America is speaking Latin. They do not know what “E Pluribus Unum” means or what “Res Ipsa Loquitur” means, cannot spell “vice versa,” and invariably pronounce “et cetera” as “excedra” or “Excedrin.” They do not even know such basic Latin phrases as “am-scray uddy-bay.” But everyone suddenly now uses the term “quid pro quo,” just as the word “dossier” came into the everyday lexicon two years ago thanks to some British runt named Steele. So everyone talks about the “Steele dossier” as if they actually know what a dossier is, even though no one ever calls anything else a “dossier” — not even a dossier of dossiers. And here we have Sondland saying “quid pro quo” in his opening statement, and all of a sudden the country is on Red Alert. No need for the North Korean Doughboy to continue building nukes to wipe us out, because Sondland has said “quid pro quo,” which, for all we know, is the Korean name of some squiggly sea fish eaten alive in little rice wraps, braised in warmed sake.
All Wednesday morning, after Sondland said those three Latin words, the Corrupt Journalist Corps went into full celebration mode. “A bombshell!” CNN called it a “bombshell.” MSNBC experts called it a “bombshell.” Everywhere among the Corrupt Journalist Corps that same word was used: “Bombshell!” Overnight, that word pierced into the lexicon threatening to supplant such predominant current terms as (i) “Steele dossier,” (ii) “quid pro quo,” and (iii) the ubiquitous mantra of the Millennial set, “What-eh-ver!” (usually followed by eye-rolling and a snorting sound).
So we had a bombshell, and I could not help thinking that the pundits who predominate among the Corrupt Journalist Corps here really would have done themselves a favor by having spent last week in Israel, when the Islamic Jihad terror organization in Gaza shot more than 400 rockets into southern Israel or this week when Iran surrogates in Syria shot four rockets into northern Israel. It really would be quite an instructive moment for those who use the word “bombshell” every time they think they finally have someone — Michael Cohen, the Mooch, Jim Comey, Anonymous, Rod Rosenstein, Omarosa, Avenatti, Stormy, Anonymous II — who can pin a crime on Donald Trump.
And then came the afternoon. Sondland still at the table, still kibbitzing. And now Republicans asking him some questions. Like, uh, did you ever directly hear the president say there would be a “quid pro quo”?
Nope. He just assumed there was a quid pro quo. In fact, he made a phone call to President Trump on September 9 to find out what exactly the president wanted from Ukraine. Indeed, answering the Grand Inquisitor Schiff directly, Sondland testified,
But I believe I just asked him an open-ended question, Mr. Chairman. “What do you want from Ukraine? I keep hearing all these different ideas and theories and this and that. What do you want?” And it was a very short and abrupt conversation. He was not in a good mood. And he just said, “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.”… This is the final word that I heard from the president of the United States.
Bombshell! Boom! Gas masks! Shrapnel flying! Head for the bunkers!
That is the Sondland testimony directly to the Grand Inquisitor himself — and Schiff could not Torquemada what he just testified. (See and listen to the one minute on YouTube yourself.)
So Sondland assumed there was a quid pro quo. He said that everyone knew about the quid pro quo. But when Sondland actually asked the man in the Oval Office directly what exactly his marching orders were, Trump told him, “I want no quid pro quo.”
That would seem to end the “impeachment” hearings. Bombshells? Howzabout, instead, All’s Quiet on the Western Front? Nonetheless, when Googling the four words “sondland quid pro quo” the next morning, the search results universally listed page after page after page of website stories with titles like
Page after Google page of it. Not a single headline that “Sondland Reverses Morning Testimony, Conceding He Merely Had Been Assuming, But That Trump Explicitly Told Him, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo.’ ” Instead, one has to search for the testimony on YouTube or go to a tweet from Rep. Mark Meadows, penetrating through the media haze, to catch the actual exchange Sondland had with Rep. Mike Turner after his morning statement already had set off so many bombshells that half the Corrupt Journalist Corps were camped out in underground truth-proof shelters:
Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio): If you pull up CNN today, right now their banner says “Sondland Ties Trump to Withholding Aid.” Is that your testimony today, Mr., Ambassador Sondland, that you have evidence [Sondland starts scratching his right ear aggressively] that Donald Trump tied the investigation to the aid? ’Cause I don’t think you’re saying that.
Sondland: I said repeatedly, Congressman, I was presuming …
Turner: So no one told you, not President Trump; Giuliani didn’t tell you. Mulvaney didn’t tell you. Pompeo didn’t tell you. Nobody else on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying aid to these investigations. Is that correct?… No one on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying this aid to the investigation? Because if your answer is “yes,” then the chairman [Schiff] is wrong, and the headline on CNN is wrong. No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to an investigation. Yes or no?
Turner: So you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from the Ukraine in exchange for these investigations?
Sondland: Other than my own presumptions.
This “impeachment” nonsense truly is a Rorschach test. It is not a justice proceeding, aiming to determine truth. Rather, it is a psychoanalytical diagnostic for those suspected of suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Those who see Trump as the incarnate of all evil discern in every word, every breath, a ground for impeachment. Suddenly they talk Latin. And those who blindly love Donald Trump, no matter what, believe he should be president even if he does commit treason or another high crime or misdemeanor. Meanwhile, the rest of us in the great middle of the bell curve just look at the inkblot and see … an inkblot. Not an impeachment.
Along the way, the Rorschach Impeachment actually is succeeding in helping us diagnose new cases of TDS among the general populace, infected wretches who urgently require additional professional observation and compassionate care. One example: David Holmes, the American embassy’s political counsel in Ukraine, testified the day after Sondland that he overheard a phone call between Trump and Sondland. Holmes asserted that he “could hear the president’s voice through the earpiece of [Sondland’s] phone,” needing to listen that way because the phone was not on “speakerphone” mode. After that highly dubious but possibly true claim, President Trump immediately tweeted his doubts:
I have been watching people making phone calls my entire life. My hearing is, and has been, great. Never have I been watching a person making a call, which was not on speakerphone, and been able to hear or understand a conversation. I’ve even tried, but to no avail. Try it live!
Interesting. As for me, personally, I kind of thought to myself, “Who knows? Could be. Maybe you can hear the voice of the other guy in a phone conversation through the earpiece. I dunno. Never gave it a thought.”
So, on to CNN, which has become an outright insane asylum now that Jeffrey Lord no longer is there. The acronym seems now to stand for Correspondents’ Neuroses Network. Out comes one inmate, a fellow named Chris Cuomo — and don’t call him “Fredo,” or they have to restrain him in a straitjacket — and he decides to prove to all America in a live, unrehearsed public demonstration that Trump is a liar and that everyone knows that a phone caller on the other end can be heard distinctly by everyone near the receiving phone even when that phone is not set on “speaker” mode because the sound from the other end coming through the earpiece itself is quite discernible. So, after mocking the president’s tweet, Cuomo dials his mother on live TV, sitting in the middle of a horseshoe-shaped table populated by avid CNN leftist “pundits” all listening eagerly, giggling with unabashed anticipation, all excited to prove the president wrong. Live un-rehearsed TV is so great. So Cuomo phones someone who he tells us is his mother. A conversation begins. We hear Cuomo. And nobody at the table or viewing on TV, no matter how loud you turn the volume, can hear a wretched syllable from the person on the other end. It is all the evidence a family member needs to have him brought in for further professional observation. You absolutely must pause reading this for just a moment and go to this link for the best two minutes of television since Jim Acosta walked along a stretch of southern border wall, triumphantly demonstrating his cognitive disadvantages by telling viewers that the absence there of any people trying illegally to sneak into America proves Trump wrong when the president calls for a wall — because there is not an illegal alien in sight anywhere along the wall.
Don’t you just love live television? All I could think of, after seeing Cuomo doing his Bob Newhart–style one-sided phone call, unintentionally proving that the person on the other end cannot be heard through the earpiece, was this 45-second airport scene from the 1971 Woody Allen classic Bananas, with Cuomo standing in for the translator being pursued by the two medical personnel in white asylum outfits chasing after him with a butterfly net.
And thus the Rorschach Impeachment proceeds. Sometimes an inkblot is just an inkblot. And for some, I guess, sometimes it is a cigar.