When a politician apologizes to his or her constituents, it's an event, in part because it happens so seldom. And so when U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd admitted to several hundred people he was wrong, it's even more noteworthy, because he did so knowing it would make the national news. We commend him for that, even though we disagree with some of what he said.
Byrd, speaking Wednesday at the West Virginia University College of Law, said he regretted ever supporting a constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget. And Byrd railed against the line-item veto, which he said was an unconstitutional shift of power from the legislative to the executive branch.
What Byrd did not say is that many members of Congress backed the balanced-budget amendment, even though they could have balanced the budget without it, because they lacked the self-control to do the right thing in the absence of a law mandating it.