It was bound to happen and it has: America, that Nation of Sheep, of The Image, the Organization Man, the Status Symbol and/or Seeker, the Power Elite et al., now has more cocktail party sociology to splash around in. The locale: Washington; the term: the New People; the overthrown term: the New Frontier; the variations: the In People, the very, very In People, the TIP or Truly Important Person. And whom can we thank for this? Longtime UP White House correspondent Merriman Smith. And who can he thank? The sassy, snappy, smart-as-all-get-out styles of Time or Esquire, Parkinson or Russell Lynes. And is his roundelay of our Capitol's culture change, social shifts, political pr just as entertaining? Yes Indeed. And almost as predictable. Anyway, the better NP's live in Georgetown, listen to Bartok, Jelly Roll Morton, translate Proust into Arabic, go to clubs like Chevy Chase, Burning Tree; the thought makers, however, favor the Metropolitan. The new Meccas are Middleburg where Jackie , Palm Beach where Jack swims; nevertheless, publicity ruined Bobby Kennedy's pool dunkings as a point getter. When caught off guard, for verbal upmanship NP's use ""object underplay, ethnic estoppel, social swivel and crashing topper""; women wear coiffures. There's also a glossary of NP chatter, a tour of toadies and Twisters, banquets and outs, the deanships, the ""phony rampant"" and lobbyists, big and small. A wry burlesque of a bubbly, bobbled town and troop.