Here's an interesting Wired blog with good links and lots of comments about Ron Paul's fifth-place showing in the Iowa straw poll. It notes that the Paul campaign didn't pay for buses, that supporters organized their own buses and other transportation through MeetUps and other online methods. Several peopole are impressed that Ron's impressive Internet presence, while at this point translating into only 2 percent or so in the conventional polls, managed to translate into 9+ percent on the ground in Iowa. And in the video clips I saw there were plenty of Ron Paul signs on camera. And here's an analysis saying Huckabee and Paul were the clear winners and Ropmney the loser, in that Romney did less well than pre-event polls would have predicted and Huckaee and Paul did considerably better.
I understand a lot of the Paul supporters who were committed enough to come to Ames were not Iowa residents and couldn't vote, but wanted to demonstrate their support anyway. And there are claims that while most campaigns spent a lot of money on the Iowa straw poll (Romney dropped millions), the Paul campaign actually raised money during the campaign. That's not bad for momentum.
I still don't expect Ron to come close to the nomination, but his campaign could turn out to be the most significant libertarian-oriented mass movement of our times. I don't agree with him on everything -- he's less open on immigration than I am, for example -- but I've known him for about 30 years and I don't know of a more sincere successful elected Congressman. He's the real deal, and despite the fact thathe's not exactly dripping charisma, I think that's coming through.