Conservative Pol by Day, Party Animal by Night

He's so conservative he voted to quash flag burning. Yet he once moshed at a Pearl Jam concert and posed astride a Harley Davidson motorcycle for a raunchy biker mag.

The life of Congressman Gary Condit - whose relationship to missing intern Chandra Levy is under question after she disappeared - seems marked by contradictions. 

Among Capitol Hill regulars, the conservative son of a Baptist minister is described as a "smooth talker" and a sharp dresser. Detractors call him "Mr. Blow-Dry." 

Condit eschews the Washington suburbs to live among the young, hip college crowd in the bohemian Adams Morgan, a Washington, D.C., neighborhood that is the district's answer to the East Village. 

But unlike many congressmen who bring their families to Washington, his wife, Carolyn, whom he married at 19, lives full time back in the strait-laced rural environs of Ceres in Northern California. 

A source close to the congressman says health problems kept her at home, although Condit frequently flies to see her on weekends. 

Condit began his career in Ceres at 24 as a city councilman. A political prodigy with burning ambition, he was a state assemblyman at 28. 

Even then, he ran with the in-crowd and had his share of female fans. "When he was in the state legislature, he and fellow state Democrats frequented a bar, Pargary's," one high-ranking California Democrat, who remembered Condit's younger days, told The Post. 

"He was pretty social when he was in Sacramento. He got around and he was popular with women." 

When Condit won his seat on Capitol Hill in 1989, he earned a reputation as the most conservative Democrat in the Golden State's congressional delegation. Several years later, he helped found the "Blue Dog Democrats" - a group that backs GOP issues and is helping President Bush. 

Because of this maverick role, MSNBC named Condit one of the eight top "Democratic Power Brokers." "He's a good congressman," said California agricultural lobbyist Julian Heron. "He works hard. He looks after his constituents' interests, and he takes his job very seriously." 

Though he leans right on the Hill by day, he's a liberal free spirit at night. Choosing a condo in Adams Morgan - which Condit admitted Levy once visited - is a strong statement because Congress members normally choose the Virginia or Maryland suburbs. 

Condit's love of motorcycles and rock is unusual in congressional circles. When Condit went to a concert by the grunge group Pearl Jam with friend Republican Rep. John Kasich of Ohio, he didn't hold back. 

"He got himself in a mosh pit," Kasich told The Modesto Bee in a 1996 interview. "He thought people were trying to fight him."