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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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