Members of Congress from Maryland and Virginia weaved a crazyquilt voting pattern from the right to left during the first session of the 95th Congress, marking the delegations from the neighboring states as among the most diverse on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Parren J. Mitchell (D-Md.) and his fellow Baltimorean, Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.) are the most liberal, and Rep. Robert E. Bauman (R-Md.) and Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr. (I-Va.) are the most conservative, according to a study of their voting records.
But, as scored by various interest groups, among the 11 Democrats, 10 Republicans and one independent, including three women and one black, there was something for everyone, with the possible exception of moderation.
These are among the findings of a study by The Washington Post of scorecards compiled by six liberal and six conservative groups that kept track of how members of Congress voted last year.
The two members who come closest to a middle-of-the road posture are Rep. Newton I. Steers (R-Md.). a liberal Republican and Rep. Goodloe E. Byron (D-Md.), a conservative Democrat.
Add to that the fact that because of illness Steers missed more than a month of his first year -- and thus some key votes that might have made his record even more liberal -- and the distance between philosophical extremes seems wider.
Bauman is out there on the right fringe, loving it. But he is not alone. In addition to Byrd, who in true maverick style votes to organize with the Democrats but reads like a Republican on issues, are Rep. Marjorie S. Holt (R-Md.) and a passel of Virginians of both parties.
Over on the left, Sarbanes and Mitchell have plenty of company, too, including Sen. Charles McC. Mathias (R-Md.) who is, according to one conservative group, the most liberal Republican in the Senate.
Northern Virginia's two House members.Democrats Herbert E. Harris II and Joseph L. Fisher, are anomalies --liberals nestled among one of the most conservative state delegations in Congress.
Delete their liberal leanings from the voting record of the Virginia House delegation and the remaining eight members rank as the most conservative of any state group in the House that has more than two members. Even including Harris and Fisher, only the five-member Mississippi delegation is to the starboard of the Virginia 10.
The other Virginians include Rep. David E. Satterfield 3rd, one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, who stands to the left only of Bauman among the 22 Maryland and Virginia lawmakers. Then there are the two congressmen named Daniel, and about the only difference between them, in terms of their voting, is that Robert W. Daniel Jr. is a Republican and W. C. (Dan) Daniel is a Democrat.
But if party affiliation is the primary distinction between Bob Daniel and Dan Daniel, voting record is one of the few shared traits of Harris and Fisher.
"Joe and Herb take very different paths to arrive at the same doorstep," is how one aide described their styles, suggesting that Harris is flamboyant and instinctive while Fisher is reserved and scholarly.
Harris and Fisher may share one other characteristic, and that is a reluctance to boast about their voting records, a shyness that may possibly be traced to the knowledge that before their victories in 1964, their respective constituents had a habit of sending only conservatives across the Potomac.
"Do you have to print that kind of story in an election year?" a Harris aide asked only half in jest when told that Harris and Fisher are viewed by most interest groups as solid liberals.
Aside from Steers, the member closest to the center line is Byron, and that is no accident.
Byron is more conservative than liberal, but his 6th Congressional District in Western Maryland, which has been largely rural and conservative since the days that his father and then his mother were its Washington representatives, is changing. And Byron is changing along with it.
"His philosophy is that he represents the district, so he votes as he sees the majority feeling," an aide confirmed.
On some issues, Byron's stance has "changed dramatically" in the last four years, the aide continued. He sees Byron drifting "from right of center to about in the middle."
Byron's shift came as exurbanities from Baltimore moved into southern Carroll County, former Washingtonians dragged urban sprawl into Frederick County, and most dramatically, the new town of Columbia, in Howard County, grew to a population of 40,000 people, many of them liberal Democrats.
With three women among its eight House members, Maryland has a higher percentage of women in Congress than any other state, but the similarity among Reps. Gladys N. Spellman, Barbara Mikulski and Holt ends at the exit to the women's lounge off the House floor.
Mikulski and Spellman are as far left as Holt is right.
The two members with the most liberal voting records, according to the survey, said they were not surprised, and seemed pleased.
"My whole philosophical posture is that government is supposed to serve the people," said Mitchell, a four-term congressman. "Where the private sector isn't meeting the need the government should step in," he said.
Mitchell, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that in his own 7th District, composed largely of the poor, black western end of Baltimore, "the people are in trouble. They suffer from lack of jobs, and from racial discrimination, and they need help."
Bauman, who serves as the right wing's unofficial watchdog on the House floor, likes to express his disdain for big government by warning that "anytime Congress is in session, the American people are in trouble."
Using figures supplied by or extracted from a dozen organizations or scorecards, The Post survey concluded that in Maryland, both senators and five of the eight representatives are liberals, and in Virginia, both senators and eight of the 10 representatives are conservatives.
Each of the 12 scorecards employed or was converted to a possible 100 percent for a perfect voting record. With six liberal and six conservative ratings, it was theoretically possible to achieve a score of 600 on either side of the center. But because conservatives and liberals occasionally agreed on an issue, a perfect score was impossible last year. By deducting the smaller score from the larger one, these composite scores were assigned to the area members:
Conservatives: (13) Bauman, 484; Satterfield, 468; Holt, 467; Rep. J. Kenneth Robinson (R-Va.). 418: Dan Daniel, 415; Byrd, 413; Sen. William L. Scott (R-Va.), 403; Rep. M. Caldwell Butler (R-Va.), 398; Robert Daniel, 388; Rep. G. William Whitehurst (R-Va.), 361; Rep. William C. Wampler (R-Va.), 351; Rep. Paul Trible (R-Va.), 335; and Byron, 164.
Liberals: (9) Mitchell, 465; Sarbanes, 447; Mikulski, 438; Harris, 406, Spellman, 358; Mathias, 350; Fisher, 317; Rep. Clarence D. Long (D-Md.), 230, and Steers, 147.
The liberal rating was compiled from data supplied by AFL-CIO's Committee on Political Education, Americans for Democratic Action, League of Women Voters, Congress Watch of Ralph Nader's Public Citizen, National Farmers Union and support of President Carter as calculated by Congressional Quarterly.
The conservative rating was compiled from data supplied by: Conservative Index of the John Birch Society, Conservative Register of the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, American Conservative Union, Chamber of Commerce of the U.S., National Federation of Independent Business and support of a conservative coalition as calculated by Congressional Quarterly.
On most major issues, liberals tended to agree with liberals, and conservatives with conservatives. But occasionally there was an issue that caused division within the right or left.
One such example was a bill that would require an increasing percentage of imported oil to be carried in American ships.
Public Citizen denounced cargo "preference" as "a subsidy to the maritime industry," a bad bill. COPE called it cargo "equity," and praised it for creating 20,000 maritime-related jobs.
And as if to validate the old saw that politics sometimes makes strange bedfellows, there was Bauman, whose district includes many workers dependent upon the port of Baltimore, tiptoeing along the shoreline from right to left, and voting with big labor.