Influential Idaho libertarian Ralph Smeed in Texas for cancer treatment

Ralph Smeed, a mentor to Gov. Butch Otter and other conservatives and one of the great political characters of his generation, has pancreatic cancer and is being treated in Houston.

Smeed, 88, co-founded the Center for the Study of Market Alternatives in Caldwell in the 1970s. He’s spent decades proselytizing about thinkers including 18th-century Scottish economist Adam Smith and 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat.

He's most famous for his electronic readerboard in Caldwell, near his FarmCity Agri-Business Park, which features pungent commentary on current events under the heading, “Making Statism Unpopular.”

In addition to Otter, Smeed played a leading role in the careers of former U.S. Sen. Steve Symms, R-Idaho, and U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth Hage, R-Idaho.

Smeed is being treated at the Burzynski Clinic, which offers alternatives to chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Smeed was first referred to the MD Andersen Cancer Center by his longtime friend, Ron Paul, the Texas physician, Republican congressman and former Libertarian presidential nominee.

A former columnist at the Idaho Press-Tribune, Smeed's well-known crusty wit was engaged when he spoke with the Statesman on Wednesday: “It’s too early to say here at the clinic, but not all the idiots are in the news media – some of ’em are in medicine.”

Smeed reported that Burzynski now prefers to call its treatments “integrative” rather than “alternative.”

“Whenever the liberals get in trouble, they change the vocabulary,” he said. “By golly, I don’t know who invented ‘alternative,’ but now they’re calling it ‘integrative.’ But we’re going to bring alternative back – we’re looking for an alternative to Obama.”

Smeed was diagnosed in Idaho after complaining of stomach pain, but choose Texas after consulting with Paul, said Maurice Clements, who co-founded the Center for Market Alternatives with Smeed. Clements and former state Rep. Elizabeth Allan Hodge traveled to Texas with Smeed about 10 days ago, said Clements, who has since returned. Hodge remains with Smeed.

Dr. Stanislaw R. Burzynski discovered peptides and amino acid derivatives in the human body that control cancer, not by destroying cancer cells but by "correcting" them, according to the Cancer Cure Foundation. Smeed is being treated with the substances, called antineoplastons. The treatment has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

“They’ve had success with pancreatic cancer,” Clements said. “Not 100 percent, but pretty good. We’re hopeful that this will turn out to be a positive experience.”

Allan Hodge is collecting prayers and good wishes for Smeed at

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It's a shame that Mr. Smeed's influence has waned in the case of Governor Otter. When he represented us in D.C., he seemed a genuine conservative, of the "small government is good government" philosophy. But something shifted when he came back home, and now he seems more like the typical politician - campaign as a conservative, but once you get the gig... "let me at those tax dollars!!"

Hopes and prayers for Mr. Smeed. I've never met him in person, but I've enjoyed hearing from him over the years.

Burzynski Clinic - Quackwatch

My best wishes to Mr. Smeed on his treatment; however, it should be noted that the Burzynski Clinic and its "alternative/integrative" treatment is criticized as being ineffective at best and fraudulent at worst.

For reference, the site has several well researched and sourced articles regarding this suspect treatment as well as Stanislaw Burzynski's legal challenges with State and Federal agencies. Unfortunately, the Statesman does no public service to its readers by parroting the unsubstantiated and unqualified opinions of a public figure as proven and effective medical care.

I wish no ill will on

I wish no ill will on anyone. Having said that, Ralph Smeed is a blathering idiot. Take a look at the entrance to Caldwell and the "MESS" off the Franklin exit. Thank Ralph Smeed. He did more to make sure that Caldwell turned into a 3rd world city than anyone else there. Now that his influence is waning, the City is back on an upswing. As far as statism is concerned, Otter finally had to put up or shut up: he is in the executive branch instead of the legislative branch. He listens to Smeed; he is lately acting like he has Alzheimers though. Just some observations from someone who doesn't care anymore about what happens to Southern Idaho.

disclaimers=pretty much busted, you can't win that


If I think of something I'll let you know but I can't stand a naked signature.

Good luck, Ralph

I met him once. He had strong convictions, but he also had a great sense of humor and could have direct dialogue without being angry or bitter. He was fun to be around. I wish we had more like him.

Buzynski Clinic and Medicare

An 88 year old man with pancreatic cancer ? though sad for he and his family thats a very long life. I'm just glad none of our tax dollars are going for payments for this quack clinic as they do not have medicare approval. In this country we are very poor at accepting the inevitable and my hat goes off to those who work in hospice that help out in our final transition.

Pancreatic Cancer.....

Pancreatic Cancer is a painful but rapid death. 2-5% survival rate >5 years if in the body or tail. Lesions in the ampulla have a 20-40% >5 year survival rate. A "Whipple" procedure, if done rapidly, can increase the % slightly...
In other words, whomever said this clinic is a Quack, is 100% correct.
I get sick of people ripping off the terminally ill, however, faced with the usual outcome, I suppose hope (albeit false) is worth something....


Ralph has been our dear neighbor for 21 years. Ralph and I rarely share the same opinion about
politics or much of anything else. However, I have never met anyone more honest about
who he is and how he feels about things. We have spent hours arguing, talking, and on occasion
agreeing about life in our world. I am a teacher, a Democrat and honored to have Ralph as
a friend. If Ralph choses he can be treated by a witch doctor or the local shoe maker. One
of the things he honors is freedom of choice-as perhaps we all should. Also, he is not
responsible for the mess on the Franklin interchange.
Most people do not realize that Ralph is responsible for that road going into town many years ago. How would
it be if we Caldwellites didn't have it. We pray for Ralph daily and miss him very much but
we also thank God we have had the wonderful experience of being his neighbor.

Dr. Burzynski and Quackery

In Nov., 1988, "Health Freedom News" published an article by Libertarian Party Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, entitled, "The Criminal FDA." Ron Paul wrote:

"Who are these (FDA) bureaucrats, these criminals in white coats, to tell sick people, including fatally sick people, what medications and treatments they should try?...

"In the past, the FDA has jailed some practitioners as 'quacks.' But what is a quack? That's someone who adopts nontraditional methods, and therefore, threatens the medical money monopoly."

That statement certainly fits the Burzynski situation.

Dr. Burzynski's profile on says that his research at Baylor University was sponsored and partially funded by the National Cancer Institute. It also says that four of the publications that he authored and co-authored while at Baylor "were also co-authored by other doctors associated with M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute and Baylor College of Medicine."

A Nov. 14, 1995, briefing paper prepared by the congressional Commerce Committee regarding the investigation of FDA abuses, included the FDA's treatment of Dr. Burzynski. It reported:

"(I)t is difficult to conclude that the decade long crusade against Burzynski is anything less than persecution....

"(I)t seems beyond reasonable doubt that he has saved the lives of five persons with incurable brain cancer.

"According to the sworn testimony of Dr. Nicholas Patronas, Head of the Neuroradiology Section of the National Cancer Institute, in 1991 he and a team of NIH specialists reviewed the information on seven patients who had been treated unsuccessfully with approved treatments for advanced brain tumors and were then treated with antineoplastons by Dr. Burzynski. The conclusion of the team was that in 5 cases, the antineoplastons appeared to cause complete remission, a result that Dr. Patronas called 'amazing.' "

Ironically, Dr. Burzynski left communist Poland expecting to experience freedom here in the US. Instead, his research and medical practice have been severely hampered by the "criminals in white coats."

There is a new movie out about Dr. Burzynski entitled, "Burzynski." See

ralph smeed

Ralph, we will dearly miss you.

He dead?


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne