Trust but verify? “Foreign Policy magazine was forced to correct on Wednesday an online article about the Iranian government that relied heavily on a liberal advocate for direct negotiations with Tehran. The article by reporter Colum Lynch, which has since been modified, incorrectly asserted that the Iranian government had publicly referred to ‘Israel’ for ‘the first time in decades.'”

Students attend a Defund Obamacare rally in Tennessee. Students attend a Defund Obamacare rally in Tennessee. (Luke Sharrett for The Washington Post)

No profiles in courage in sight. Just bickering and point-scoring. “Reid clarifies exchange with reporter after conservatives pounce on remark.”

Leading from behind is the culprit, I agree. “[G]oing from weakness to weakness is not merely a domestic trait of the United States right now. It is also a hallmark of our forays on the world stage. That can change. The wounds can heal. We can regain our footing. . . . It requires the vision to set national interests above politics and the will to assume the risks leadership demands — including the risks associated with collaborating with those with whom we must work at home if we are ever again to achieve the standing previous generations have earned worldwide.”

The buck stops here? Not even for a moment in this White House. The president is peeved. “President Obama met Wednesday with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, hours after saying he is ‘exasperated’ by the two-day-old government shutdown.”

He was for it before he was against it. Sen. Mike Lee says a local news report was “wrong.” But he was the one on camera saying he’d accept a salary. After agreeing to donate it to charity: “Lee’s communications director told KUTV ‘I also know there [will] be the temptation to frame this as ‘backtracking,’ but that’s not at all what this is. As I said, the Senator was unfortunately muddy in his explanation of how the process works and wasn’t prepared at that time to make a big announcement about how he was going to handle it.'” Better not to say “backtracking” when, you know, backtracking.

Nothing to fear but fear itself. And the sinking feeling no one is in charge. Grover Norquist: “The only confusion that comes out is that [Sen. Ted] Cruz stood on the side and confused people about the fact that every Republican agrees. He said if you don’t agree with my tactic and with the specific structure of my idea, you’re bad. He said if the House would simply pass the bill with defunding he would force the Senate to act. He would lead this grass-roots movement that would get Democrats to change their mind. So the House passed it, it went to the Senate, and Ted Cruz said, oh, we don’t have the votes over here. And I can’t find the e-mails or ads targeting Democrats to support it. Cruz said he would deliver the votes and he didn’t deliver any Democratic votes. He pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away.” Exactly our take.

By 2016 he’ll be tanned, rested and ready. “If you’re looking for someone who benefits politically from the government shutdown, look no further than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). Several of his potential 2016 rivals, like Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul, were all — to varying degrees — backing the quixotic ‘defund ObamaCare’ strategy. Today, they look like children in comparison to a get-things-done governor like Christie.”