Putting the United Nations in Cincinnati sounds as bizarre as moving the Statue of Liberty to Fountain Square. But it almost happened—if “almost” means “not even close.”

While working on a local family’s biography project, I ran across this: In late 1945, Cincinnati sent a delegation to London to ask the new United Nations Organization (UNO) to bring the U.N. to Eden Park or Mount Airy, with temporary headquarters in Music Hall.

Mayor James G. Stewart, accompanied by a Crosley executive and Chamber of Commerce President Walter Eberle, came home to report that Cincinnati made a strong bid to become “the Peace Capital of the World.”

“It was a long shot, but well worth playing,” said the mayor, sounding like “Mr. Smith Goes to the United Nations.”

We all know how that turned out. The UNO said, “You? No.” They chose New York City to be the Peace Capital of the World. (Insert laugh track.)

And look at how that turned out. The UNO turned its peace-loving back on friendly Heartlanders who say “Please?” and moved in with bleeping New Yorkers who say “Shaddup.” The nations are less united than they were in 1944.

But maybe it’s a good thing we did not get picked. Because if Cincinnati handled world peace the way our region has run the U.S. House and Senate, we would all be making cave paintings by the light of radioactive rubble, while Charlton Heston stumbles onto the Statue of Liberty buried in the vaporized remains of Manhattan and hollers, “You maniacs! You blew it up!”

Since 2014, we’ve had Mitch McConnell running the Senate at the south end of the crumbling Brent Spence Bridge, and John Boehner as Speaker of the House at the north end (until he resigned last fall).

And we didn’t even get a pothole filled from all that “shovel-ready” stimulus jackpot, much less a new bridge.

When I interviewed Boehner after he became Speaker in 2010, he was cautiously optimistic. “The plain old Midwestern values we bring are really different from the West Coast and East Coast,” he said. “They are practical, common sense, right of center.”

He said he learned from previous speakers: “The biggest lesson is that you can’t force the legislative process to follow your own will. That blows up in your face every time.”

Cut to Wiley Coyote lighting the fuse on a bundle of ACME cartoon dynamite. Boehner gave the House a long leash, and they used it to tangle his feet in rush-hour traffic.

When McConnell took over the Senate with a Republican majority, he told me a new bridge and other regional issues would be a high priority: “I’m going to be in a pretty good place, as is the speaker, to address every issue. We have a very tight relationship and have been friends for years. There are no dictators here in Washington, but we’re acutely aware of the problems in the region and we’re in a position to help.”

That turned out like all the other Republican promises to repeal Obamacare, block amnesty for illegal aliens, stop the Iran deal, prosecute IRS crimes and Benghazi lies, and cut spending. McConnell said he would replace the Brent Spence by “repatriating” trillions in corporate profits that are sheltered from exorbitant U.S. tax rates. But the politicians have been saying that for years—which is like trying to sell cars with a sign that says “Price cuts tomorrow.” Why should CEOs bring capital home if they can wait for “tax cuts tomorrow?”

In Senate Land they promise everything tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. And this year, voters are nail-spitting mad about it. After less than two years of House and Senate leadership from our buckle of the Rustbelt, America is yelling, “You maniacs! You blew it up!”

Donald Trump has launched a hostile takeover of the Republican Party, and Democrats fell for socialist Bernie Sanders as an antidote to Clinton acid reflux. America hasn’t been this angry since Gettysburg.

What went wrong? How did Boehner, who grew up mopping the wood floors at Andy’s, his family’s shot-and-beer bar in Carthage, become a symbol of the tuxedoed Mr. Monopoly establishment? This is a guy who grew up in a home so crowded he used a tree in the backyard while his 11 brothers and sisters lined up for the single bathroom. His typically Ohio philosophy is, “It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.” What happened?

And what about McConnell? He took over saying he was determined to restore the virtue and honor of his dearly beloved Senate. McConnell waved an olive branch and insisted that the thickening smoke of public fury was no cause for fire alarms. “It has been like this before,” he coughed. “There were plenty of times when we had a lot of challenges.”

McConnell had no clue what was coming.

Sooner or later, everyone who stays in D.C. long enough catches the political virus that swells their heads and makes them think that running America would be a lot easier without all those stupid voters in the way. They maintain a fictional residence in Kentucky or Ohio, but their hearts are in Washington. Now and then they visit to ask for money and explain how stupid we were to expect them to keep promises that were only meant to be bait for campaign contributions.

They could not be more out of touch if they lived on the Planet of the Apes.

Maybe what voters see in Trump is the same thing Americans saw in another president, who started out 25 miles southeast of Cincinnati and 194 years in the past.

He failed at business, failed at farming, failed at selling firewood, failed at West Point where he graduated 21st in a class of 39, and had to resign from the Army for being drunk on duty, which he called “my vice of intemperateness.”

He was elected 18th president with the support of the Radical Republicans, and failed at that, now judged by posterity as a mediocre, below-average president—except compared to the one he replaced, the impeached Andrew Johnson.

Ulysses S. Grant was almost a failure as a Civil War general, too. But when President Lincoln’s war cabinet urged him to fire Grant for his “vice of intemperance,” Lincoln replied: “Tell me what brand of whiskey Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.

“I can’t spare that man. He fights.”

Trump often fights the wrong battles. He has a huge “vice of intemperance.” But he fights. Which is more than anyone can say for the McCain and Romney McClellans who never missed an opportunity to retreat or apologize.

The election is months away, but America has already voted: We have elected to be entertained. The White House is going to be the world’s most expensive studio for reality TV. It will be Trump in “Presidential Apprentice,” or Hillary in “Hell’s Kitchen: What Scandal Will She Cook Up Next?”

No matter who wins, the losers will insist that Washington as we know it will be destroyed. I hope so. Maybe we can move it to Cincinnati.