Montana Headlines has said in the past that Ron Paul's candidacy has been useful in that it gave some voice to the many Republicans who aren't big fans of recent Republican trends in foreign policy. In other words, the people who George W. Bush was speaking to when he advocated in the 2000 campaign for a "more humble" foreign policy, one without as much "nation-building" as the Clinton presidency had offered us.
And he of course has been a throwback to the days when conservatives wanted to drastically reduce the size of the federal government by doing things like eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education -- as did Reagan in his campaign against Jimmy Carter.
Paul's candidacy had already been wearing thin, though. Grassroots excitement is great, but a candidate has to be able to control his own campaign and message, and the fact that he had no desire to do so should have been a warning sign, even to the most enthusiastic libertarian.
Now, as Carol over at Missoulopolis points out, the fact that old newsletters are surfacing with lots of unsavory bits of (shall we say) insensitive rhetoric is a "train wreck" for the Paul campaign. The entire original New Republic piece is worth reading.
It is a reminder of why Wm. Buckley at National Review ran the John Birch Society out of the respectable conservative movement, decades ago.
We just don't need that sort of thing.