Since November’s electoral letdown, congressional Republicans have been under fire from inside their party over their inability to connect with voters.
Conservative thinkers have pilloried them as intellectually vapid and stuck in the 1980s, radio talkers have blasted them as politically inept and at least one GOP governor called them stupid. Speaker John A. Boehner’s response? Essentially: I hear you.
In part one of the Ohio Republican’s written question-and-answer exchange with CQ Roll Call, the Speaker discussed the current state of the GOP and the role of the House majority in rehabilitating its decrepit reputation. Boehner also talked about why he abandoned bilateral negotiations with President Barack Obama and attempted to dismiss suggestions that 2014 will be his last year as Speaker.
Check this space Tuesday morning for part two of our interview, which includes a focus on the issues currently before Congress.
CQ Roll Call: What is the role of House Republicans in helping the party achieve resurgence in popularity with voters? What is your role in helping them achieve that goal?
Boehner: There’s no doubt that, as a party, we need to do a better job of communicating and engaging with the American people. In the House, we only control one half of one third of the government, and going up against the presidential bully pulpit is tough. But our priorities are still firmly aligned with the American peoples’: creating jobs, cutting wasteful government spending, and expanding opportunity for all Americans so they can achieve the American dream. Our job as House Republicans is to put our principles into legislation, like the budget that we will vote on this month, and show how those solutions help families in our Congressional districts and around the country.
CQ Roll Call: Talk about your view of the current state of the Republican Party? Where does it need to improve? Where is it just fine and simply needs to reaffirm its commitment to principles?
Boehner: Our principles — things like freedom and responsibility — are eternal, but we’ve got to do a better job of articulating those principles and … translating them into common-sense solutions that will help middle-class families and small businesses. We have a lot of young, exciting new voices in our party who can articulate our positive vision of our ideas, so I think our future remains bright.
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