There's something ugly going on in Washington, D.C.
Travel + Leisure magazine asked travelers to rank 35 American cities in a variety of categories, including which has the most attractive residents.
Washingtonians were ranked the sixth least attractive.
I think, borrowing from Jay Leno, I know why: "Politics is show business for ugly people."
You see, out in "flyover country," people actually care about ideas and results and the direction our country is heading.
This is what elections are about for them -- this is what they talk about at the dinner table and worry about when they are unable to sleep at night.
They assume, when they vote for their Washington representatives, that those folks feel the same way.
But many of them don't.
This was made abundantly clear to me when a friend of mine, an editorial page editor for a newspaper in Texas, took a job as chief of staff to a newly elected congressman.
Until he arrived in Washington, he'd spent his career passionately debating ideas and political decisions. He cared about the rightness or wrongness of these ideas and their impact on his city and state.
Soon after he arrived on Capitol Hill, though, he became disillusioned. He realized that ideas are mostly pieces on a chessboard through which members of Congress, their staffers, lobbyists and lots of others merely play a game to acquire power and money.
They are eager to acquire power and money for one reason: It's the only way they know to "get chicks."
Stroll around our capital city and you'll see exactly what I am talking about: lots of middle-aged fellows strolling about with young, gorgeous women on their arms.
Even the baldest fellow with the hairiest earlobes can do well with the ladies, so long as he has political connections who will secure his client millions, so he may secure himself hundreds of thousands.
Gorgeous women in D.C. are smitten with such fellows -- fellows who replay their C-SPAN appearances on their smartphones at trendy restaurants as their giggling young female companions, eager to cash in on THEIR associations, swoon.
Call me a cynic, but the halls of power are staffed by too many people who were not so popular in high school or college. Some of these fellows are STILL getting wedgies.
Don't get me wrong, some in Washington have fine minds. There are some folks who have produced wealth, created jobs and succeeded in the private sector, and came to Washington to solve real problems, not feather their own caps.
There will be many more good people in Washington come January, thank goodness.
No, I speak of the fellows who only know how to attain "success" by wiggling their way into political positions, in which they hold sway over how taxpayer money is directed and spent.
They use our hard-earned money to create and fund nutty programs that give power, money and fame to their associates and themselves.
They do so because they still have a chip on their shoulder -- they're still agitated that the popular girls rejected them so many years ago.
How much of our bloated, wasteful spending can be traced to the simple motives of balding, hairy-lobed, middle-aged fellows is hard to say, but the number surely isn't small.
Perhaps, we should allow only attractive people to run for office and work in government positions.
Or, better yet, perhaps we should slash unnecessary government spending so the unattractive have less ability to attain power, money and fame at our expense.
In any event, now you know the ugly truth about Washington, D.C.
Tom Purcell, a freelance writer, is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. E-mail Tom at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.