If Washington still judges who's up or down by the number of hotshots who show up at their parties, then Lew Lehrman is sitting pretty.

Lehrman, the man who spent millions trying to win the governorship of New York in 1982, and who would like to be going to his own inauguration in four years, threw quite a reception Saturday afternoon in honor of attorney general-nominee Edwin Meese and U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. There wasn't a moderate in sight.

Or a place to stand.

"Well, I just saw Jesse Helms, but he wouldn't qualify as a moderate," said Richard Viguerie, right-wing mail czar and a candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia.

It was a zoo, as only an inaugural party can be when you invite 1,000 of your friends and try to cram them into a suite of offices on Capitol Hill.

"A madhouse," said lawyer Roy Cohn. "My party on Monday won't be like this. I have two security guards standing at the door and no one will get in without an invitation."

Sample conversation:

"Walter, I'm over here," yelled one woman to her husband.

"Forget it, lady," responded a man pushing past her. "I went in there with one woman and came out with another."

Kirkpatrick arrived an hour after the party began, with two staff aides and two bodyguards. The first person she kissed was Estee Lauder.

"I wore your perfume the other day," Kirkpatrick told the cosmetic queen, "and I thought of you."

She then kissed Lehrman and was ushered upstairs to his "Citizens for America" offices, where she hoarsely addressed the throng, to be heard by only the five people standing in front of her. Meese finally arrived two hours into the party.

"How are your briefings for the confirmation hearings going?" someone called out.

"Uh, uh, we'll see," he stammered.

"Whaddaya mean?!!" called back Ursula Meese. "They're going GREAT. JUST GREAT!"

A wall of security men went up around them, and into the mob they went.