03/15/2007 11:49 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Reply to a Letter from Never-Never Land

I guess I have only myself to blame for my this most recent pestering I'm receiving from the unrepentant Naderites. For a group whose candidate did not even amass even a half of a single percentage point in the last election, they sure know how to annoy. My first, and most significant mistake was failing to figure out that the people who made the Nader documentary were in fact, members of the cult, themselves. No sensible person would give an interview about Reverend Moon to a group of Moonie film-makers nor an interview about Lyndon LaRouche to a bunch of Larouche-nicks. Expecting fair and balanced treatment--in the old-fashioned sense of the word--from Naderites in their Nader documentary was naïve in the extreme on my part and that's entirely my fault.

Second it was silly of me to think I could criticize their movie without inviting the kinds of cheap shotes on display here. Just as they misrepresented the context of the arguments Todd Gitlin and I make in their movie, the film-maker pretends--again--that I am addressing myself to the issue of screentime. As I made pretty clear yesterday, that's exactly the smokescreen they hid behind in the first place. The issue has nothing to do with me, whatsoever. I would have preferred to have been left out of this movie entirely, now that I know its purposes. The issue, as I've tried to explain, is addressed to their honesty of their presentation of the issues. This "Open Letter"--the second one with which I have now been honored at Huffpo--demonstrates to me, anyway, that they never had any intention of treating the issues raised by Nader's various campaigns with honesty and integrity and prefer, instead, to play games designed to make me look silly before their fellow cultists without ever once engaging the issues of Nader's responsibility for George Bush's presidency in an honest and forthright fashion.

A writer named Paul Hogarth, to whom I linked yesterday, does an admirable job in his short essay, "Re-Assessing Nader: A Selfish and Unreasonable Man, of explaining why the film-makers version of Nader is about as true to life as are Dick Cheney's assessment of the state of things in Iraq. Such is the wisdom of the True Believer that reality need not get in the way. Here are some excerpts. I hope I can drop the matter here, but I urge you to read the entire piece.

(Oh and Steve, thanks anyway for the offer of the DVD, but seriously, I prefer "Peter Pan." The 1953 Disney cartoon's re-release is quite a bit more entertaining, alas, however inadvertently, provides considerable insight into the recent career Ralph Nade and his acolytes.) Here's Mr. Hogarth:

"Don't be fooled by reviews that say "An Unreasonable Man," the new film about Ralph Nader, criticizes his 2000 presidential campaign. While the two-hour documentary gives face-time to Eric Alterman and Todd Gitlin who blame Nader for electing George Bush, the filmmakers just use them to create an illusion of credibility. Meanwhile, the film gives very short shrift to Nader's long consumer legacy - where he is portrayed in glowing terms as a saint, while papering over a disturbing trait from those years that explains why he later ran for President.

Rather than "unreasonable," Nader is a selfish egotist. Accountable to nobody. He burns through his disciples. He believes that any disagreement with him amounts to a betrayal. The film is propaganda at its worst - it pretends to see both sides of the issue, but really props up Nader for his 2008 presidential campaign.

.. it's a glowing tribute to Nader...

...For my generation, Nader will always be remembered as the reckless ideologue who gave us the worst President in American history..

Nader treated any of his former employees who deviated from what he wanted as Benedict Arnolds in the highest degree. ...

By 1981, Nader celebrated the defeat of Jimmy Carter because "Reagan is going to breed the biggest resurgence in nonpartisan citizen activism in history."....

To call Nader an "unreasonable man" in the context of the George Bernard Shaw quote is dangerously misleading. Nader was a brave crusader at the beginning of his career - when he attacked General Motors for creating unsafe cars - but by the 1970's he was a vicious egomaniac.....

Today, he's even worse. Beyond "trying to adapt the world to himself," he has refused to adapt to any reality at all. The world has changed, and everything he has argued about electoral politics has been completely disproven in the last six years. But still, Ralph Nader insists on proving a point - and he doesn't seem to care how many more people suffer under Republican Administrations. After all, he's not poor and won't be hurt by the Bush budget cuts.

But you won't get this perspective from viewing "An Unreasonable Man." It's not a documentary - it's a puff piece....."