Six Year Blues

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks before signing executive orders to protect LGBT employees from federal workplace d
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks before signing executive orders to protect LGBT employees from federal workplace discrimination in the East Room of the White House Monday, July 21, 2014, in Washington. Obama's executive orders signed Monday prohibit discrimination against gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, without a new exemption that was requested by some religious organizations. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Almost every president in recent history has experienced what I like to call "The six-year blues." For Reagan it was Iran-Contra, for Clinton it was Monica Lewinsky, and for George W. Bush, it was Iraq and Afghanistan.

President's Truman and Johnson decided they didn't want to run for a second elected term because they were so unpopular. Nixon needs no explanation.

And now, President Obama is suffering from his own version of "the blues." With poll numbers sitting at his lows and a Congress that has basically tuned him out. And even worse, it seems much of the public isn't listening either.

We've seen this play out before. But what sets this president apart from those before him is that he came into office with no apparent vision on the foreign policy front, other than a promise to get us out of wars abroad. Oh, and shutting down Guantanamo. Which still hasn't happened.

Six years in and many wonder why the Obama administration is always reacting rather than leading.

For a president that has enough time to attend multiple high-dollar fundraisers this week, you'd think he might take just a moment to speak directly to the American people about our country's role in some gravely serious situations abroad.

In just the past two weeks it feels like the world is crumbling around us. We've seen the downing of Malaysia Flight 17, Israel's ground invasion against militants in Gaza, and the ongoing uncertainty of ISIS gaining strength in Iraq. If you're anything like me, you're feeling anxious and nervous about how all of this will end.

More than ever, the world is crying out for bold decisive leadership. And they turn to us, the United States, to stand up and lead the way. But President Obama remains cautious and uncertain. Waiting for the dust to settle to see where public opinion falls before taking a stand of his own.

Look, America is war-weary thanks to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I get that. But that doesn't mean we can't act. Right now we are playing from fear and isolation.

Even The Root, a site often on the president's side, wants to be lead. They write, "Mr. President, simply avoiding mistakes is not foreign policy."

It makes the administration seem weak and feckless. The sense that the president is simply reacting to each crisis as it occurs, rather than harnessing a comprehensive global strategy that accommodates the ever-changing political realities of the 21st century, is damaging Obama's foreign policy hopes and his domestic policy credibility.

Mr. President, for too long your approach to foreign policy has been reactive, not proactive. It feels like we're always playing catch-up.

Now is the time to tell us what it is you want us to do. What are our goals? What is most important to us? And how are we going to get there?

Now is the time to make us feel safe and remind the world that we are a strong and resilient nation.

Democratic and Republican presidents did so during the Cold War. Mr. President, take charge and I as one Republican would be willing to follow.