Former Rep. Robert E. Bauman has left Capitol Hill, where he spent about half his 43 years as a page, aide and three-term congressman, to "live one day at a time" as a lawyer in his home town of Easton, Md., but the wit and wisdom of the self-styled "watchdog of the House" lives on.
For the last two months, Bauman has worked as a $1,000-a-week consultant to House Minority Whip Trent Lott instructing freshman Republicans how to do what he was the acknowledged master of -- using the rules of Congress to get his way or thwart that of his opponents.
Bauman lost a bid for a fourth term after he admitted problems with homosexuality and alcoholism, and Lott Said he got "considerable criticism" from members of the Moral Majority in his home district in Mississippi for hiring Bauman.
Lott said his House colleagues praised him as "courageous and smart" for taking advantage of the talents of a man who liked to warn the public that "every time Congress meets, America is in danger."
Bauman's legacy includes a copyrighted 26-page pamphlet entitled "A Manual for New Members of the U.S. House of Representatives," which contains the following advice:
Do not stand up on the floor and say "I am so angry I can spit," because Section 364 of Jefferson's Manual Forbids spitting and hissing.
A member may be under the weather and half seated on the committee table as he is speaking. If so, he is subject to a point of order because of his unparliamentary posture.
Behind a seemingly innocent unanimous consent request lurks a whole train of events that could eventually cause enormous legislative harm to your constituents or the world.
Never forget, your colleagues are not Bob or Mary or Mr. Jones or Mrs. Smith. They are "the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Jones," or "the gentlelady from Ohio, Mrs. Smith." Always refer to yourself in the third person, i.e., "the gentleman from Maryland would like to say . . . Nothing marks the amatuer more quickly than failure to addresss the chair and his colleagues in the proper fashion."
"One of the major objectives of the minority ought to be to put the majority members on record on important issues, many of which they would obviously rather duck," wrote the man who was responsible for more roll call votes on technical questions than any member of Congress in recent history.
"It is against the rules to refer to the radio or televison audience or to those distinguished citizens of the Rapidian Rotary Club who are with us in the gallery today or to vent your indignation against the Senate or a senator."
Bauman also conducted three day-long seminars for GOP freshmen and instructed some returning members on the nuances of parlimentary procedure.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said Bauman walked us through a typical day in the House" and demonstrated that "he certainly knows the rules."
Rep. William F. Thomas (R-Calif.), serving his second term, said Bauman "told war stories" about his political battles with the Democrats. Thomas said that in previous years Republicans relied on the Marylander "to preserve minority rights" but in his absence "more of use must get to know the procedures. Many members didn't fully understand what an asset Bob was.He was not just slowing things down, he was protecting democratic principles."
Bauman's successor, Democrat Roy Dyson, complained that Bauman "never came around. I never saw him" during the two months of his consultancy. Several Republican staffers added that they saw Bauman about twice a week during the period, but Minority Whip Lott said he was satisfied that "we got our money's worth. It wasn't a 9 to 5 job."
Informed of Dyson's criticism, the acerbic Bauman snapped, "I earned my pay. I was in Washington more than Congress was."
Bauman said he will practice law in the same office in Easton that served as his congressional office. His wife, Carol, has landed a $44,000-a-year job in the public affairs office of the Department of Energy and now is making the 150-mile round trip that her husband made during his seven years in Congress.