July 30, 2012


A libertarian group is trying to score political points off the Aurora shooting with a controversial new billboard. From top to bottom, the left side of the billboard reads “Kills 12 in a movie theater with assault rifle,” followed by a photo of alleged Aurora shooter James Holmes, followed by the text “Everyone freaks out.” The right has a picture of president Obama with the text “Kills thousands with foreign policy ... Wins Nobel Peace Prize.” The ad was put up by the Ralph Smeed Foundation. “We’re not saying that Obama is a lunatic," insisted one of its members.

From Leah Nelson:

The billboard is the work of the Ralph Smeed Foundation, an obscure libertarian organization that apparently takes great pride its rotating roadside messages.

A spokesperson for the organization explained to the Idaho Statesman:

“We’re all outraged over that killing in Aurora, Colo., but we’re not outraged over the boys killed in Afghanistan. … We’re not saying that Obama is a lunatic.”

Who the hell his Ralph Smeed, you ask?

According to the foundation’s official biography/hagiography, he was “a not-so quiet blend of Barry Goldwater, Walter Matheau and H. L. Menkin” who served as a Goldwater delegate to the 1964 GOP convention, where the scurvy “Rockefeller Republicans” did “everything they could to sabotage Goldwater’s campaign and thus followed one of the worst defeats that any Republican candidate had ever suffered.”

In a 2010 article written not long before Smeed’s death, the Statesman wrote:

Smeed, 88, is a Caldwell businessman and former newspaper columnist who calls himself the "Curmudgeon." He is famed for his iconoclastic billboard near his Farm City development and on the way to the College of Idaho, which he attended in the 1940s. For decades, the billboard critiqued politicians and other public figures with pithy jibes.

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