The Nation: Altered Egos

In a four-page newsletter mailed to his constituents last fall, California Democrat John V. Tunney used the words "I" or "the Senator" 25 times on the first page, 64 times in all. Among politicians, that is not excessive or unusual. But Republican Congressman Alphonzo Bell, who is running for Tunney's seat this year, complained to the Senate Select Committee on Standards and Conduct that the Senator was abusing his franking privilege to promote his reelection.

The committee did not consider Bell's claim, but by a unanimous vote decided that senatorial vanity was indeed...