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.