Ron Paul's appearance on Meet the Press yesterday (video, well worth watching, here) went about how you'd expect: lots of wacky policy positions, a handful of sound ones, refreshing candor and straightforwardness in answering all Tim Russert's questions, even the silly ones. One particularly pointless line of questioning getting discussed in the press--which Russert, for some reason, spent several minutes on--concerned Paul's record on earmarks: he's voted against every bill containing them, but tends to slip some for his district in beforehand so that if the rest of the country takes advantage of the federal government's largesse, his constituents don't miss out.

Russert seemed determined to convince viewers that this is somehow hypocritical, but I don't see how it is. It's a perfectly tenable position: Paul is categorically opposed to earmarks, but if they're going to exist, his district is just as entitled to them as any other. The analogy Paul used is apt: just because you're opposed to the existence of Social Security doesn't obligate you to return your checks to the government--you were forced to pay in, so you might as well take what you deserve. One can accuse Ron Paul of many things, but philosophical inconsistency isn't one of them.

--Josh Patashnik