Fast forward to 2012. Paul finishes third in the Iowa Caucus with 21% of the vote. Paul's 26,219 caucus vote total is a 121% increase from 2008. Meanwhile Iowa winner Mitt Romney's vote total declined by 6 votes from 2008 to 2012 despite a weak field and a (slightly) higher turnout than 2008. Romney won only 17 of Iowa's 99 counties. Paul won 18.
On Facebook, some Ron Paul supporters have linked to an audio (see below) clip of Republican operative Dee Dee Benkie, who hails from Indiana, talking about concerns the Iowa Republican establishment had about a Ron Paul victory. While the clip does not suggest fraud was involved to keep Paul from winning- as some people inaccurately suggest - Benkie's observations reveal a GOP establishment that clearly does not understand the significance of the growing Ron Paul-led libertarian wing of the GOP both in terms of sheer numbers and youthful energy.
Yes, the GOP Establishment does not get it. Ron Paul's appeal is not as some sort of cultish figure. Rather he represents the ideas of millions of Republican-leaning voters, people who believe in personal and economic freedom and who want to see our interventionist foreign policy scaled back. Does Ron Paul go too far in some of the polices he advocates? Absolutely. But Ron Paul would, and is, taking the GOP in a direction that a lot of Republicans want to go. The GOP establishment would be wise to wake up and smell the coffee Ron Paul is brewing.