Deadline Now: U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur
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Deadline Now: U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

Friday, November 23, 2012 at 8:30 p.m.

Fresh from her decisive re-election to Congress, Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio's 9th) won't have much time to celebrate. Washington is fast-approaching the so-called "fiscal cliff." We still have a deeply divided government. Is compromise possible? Where does Toledo's Congresswoman think the economy is headed?

Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of "Deadline Now:"

Elections do have meaning in this country. On Election Day this year, a man emailed me to say that it would soon be clear that voters were rejecting everything President Obama stood for.

I didn’t hear from him again for more than a week, when he told me that The Blade should be aware that neither party has a mandate.

Well, I disagree.

When all the absentee ballots are counted, President Obama will have won by a margin of probably more than four million votes. He is the first Democratic President since FDR to win a majority of the popular vote two elections in a row.

Democrats also increased their majority in the U.S. Senate, something I would have thought impossible, and gained seven seats in the House. In fact, Democratic House candidates got more votes than Republicans.

Thanks to the way districts are drawn, however, Republicans ended up with more seats. So I think it is clear that voters rejected the Republican insistence on no new taxes and revenues. By and large, the election returns and exit polls indicate they want the rich to pay a little more. But they also want deals to get done and the system to be fixed, and I think any party which isn’t willing to compromise risks being punished harshly at the polls two years from now.

If we are going to avoid going over the cliff and Congress can again be made to work the way it should, I think it is going to be because of members like Marcy Kaptur. She has been there now thirty years. She knows how Congress works; she knows how legislation is made. She has friends in both parties.

Congresswoman Kaptur, like Michigan’s John Dingell, is unlikely to ever run for governor or senator; she has had chances to do so, and decided to stay with her district. She is also highly unlikely to be defeated, at least not in the next decade.

If some of the show horses on Capitol Hill are smart, I think they’ll look to folks like Ms. Kaptur and her equivalents on the GOP side to get the job done. We’re unlikely to run out of crises anytime soon, and putting the fiscal cliff behind us would be a good place to start.