Since it doesn’t appear we’ll have any one-on-one debates between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, perhaps the best we can do to compare the two candidates is to view their speeches on similar topics side by side.
And yesterday we had that opportunity, as both addressed the AIPAC conference in Washington on American foreign policy.
First, Trump – whose command of foreign policy is a bit shaky, and whose statement that he would be “neutral” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs – a statement he later said was merely a negotiating posture aimed at luring the Palestinians into a position of trusting him to broker a deal, which were it true would seem to be less-than-wise to disclose before he’s even president – put him at a bit of a disadvantage with respect to credibility in the audience.
That said, Trump’s speech was quite well-received and though he doesn’t show off a particularly impressive command of foreign policy issues, and particularly Middle East policy issues, he at least won the crowd on the idea that the Iran deal needs to go and it’s time for Iran to stop being the world’s leading sponsor of Islamic terrorism.
How Trump is going to get the Palestinians to stop teaching their kids to want to be suicide bombers is a question. So is why he kept calling it “Palestine” – which was an opening that Cruz jumped into to great effect at the beginning of his speech.
If you’re looking for command of policy and detail, you’d have to say Cruz gets the advantage. Trump’s speech was a bit more entertaining. Either one would signify a tremendous departure in foreign policy from what we currently have.