Democrats old and Democrats new spouted policy ideas old and policy ideas new as they mingled by electric candlelight at Gary's restaurant in northwest Washington last night.

At the first Washington fund-raiser for the recently established Center for Democratic Policy, a think tank, more than 250 people came in from the snow to agree on the need for Democratic ideals and a Democratic administration.

"The bottom line is that the Democrats are getting ready to take power," said Don L. Gevirtz from Los Angeles, a member of the center's board of directors.

"There's an intensity that wasn't here six months ago, and I think it's born of anxiety," Gevirtz said.

Sporting non-designer suits and skirts, most of the handshakers seemed to rally around the Democratic spirit with liquor in one hand and oysters Rockefeller in the other.

"This organization is certainly worth the effort," said former senator Adlai Stevenson III.

"But Democrats are better at ventilating issues than resolving them," Stevenson said, "and they're not going to solve the problems of the world."

That doesn't mean they won't try.

"Democrats need to build more roads, more sewers -- all that unsexy stuff," said Charles Royer, mayor of Seattle, Wash., "although it's the fancy stuff like the arts that gets the money."

And, too, economics was a main part of the discussion.

"I used to say the definition of an economist is a man who would marry Elizabeth Taylor for her money," said Walter W. Heller, who was an economic adviser to presidents Kennedy and Johnson. "Now I've updated that. Now it's a man who'd marry Bo Derek."