Is Ron Paul Right on Earmarks?

Republicans love to hate earmarks, and as articulated so brilliantly [heh] by John McCain o’er the years, they are the ultimate evil of government spending–eliminating them will…you know…it’s the culture of corruption or some such thing. Ron Paul, one of three Republican congressmen to request earmarks this year, defended his position (through a spokeslady):

Paul spokeswoman Rachel Mills said he thinks Washington already extracts too much money from his constituents, and “part of his job is to work hard in Washington, D.C., to get that money back to those constituents in any form that he can.” She said Paul also believes that earmarking is more transparent than the regular budget process because you know exactly where the money goes and that it doesn’t affect the total amount appropriated by one dime.

Does this make Paul a hypocrite? Does it make him a hypocrite for inserting earmarks but voting against overall spending bills? Is he right to decide exactly where the money goes at the request of his constituents instead of leaving it up to bureaucratic discretion?

Is a moratorium on earmarks actually going to solve the budget deficit, or is it just a McCain-esque political stunt?