Welcome to the Huckabee newsletter, the only media outlet in America that isn’t leading with a coronavirus story! You’re welcome! (That’ll come later.)

Last night, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders squared off in the Democrats’ first one-on-one “debate,” mano y mano (or “old mano y old mano.”)

There was no studio audience, to prevent the spread of disease and to keep from spooking the participants with any sudden noises. The DNC once again changed the rules to keep their one remaining, interesting, appealing, “diverse” candidate, Tulsi Gabbard out, so the Democrats are down to this Hobson’s Choice. Each candidate had a clear objective: Biden had to prove he could go for two hours without wandering off the stage or lapsing into word salad, while Bernie had to prove he had the “fire in the belly” to go after Biden hard on his vulnerabilities and take him down.

Commentary continues below advertisement

By those measures, Biden could be judged the winner, since he held up remarkably well with only a few brain lapses (like calling the H1N1 or “swine flu” virus that happened under his and Obama’s watch the “N1H1” virus, and deflecting with a “Come on, man” when Bernie challenged him to list the nine PACs he accused Bernie of taking money from.) However, while Bernie launched some aggressive moves on Biden, he didn’t land any knockout blows (neither he nor the moderators even brought up all the questions about Biden’s health, something unimaginable if he were a Republican.) If Bernie had a “fire in the belly,” then he must’ve taken some Mylanta for it before the debate. Any hopes he might have had of painting Biden as the old and out-of-touch guy (at 77, he’s actually a year younger than Bernie) died when Bernie used the phrase “Go to the YouTube,” and immediately became a trending Internet meme.

The only news to come out of the debate was Biden’s promise to choose a female running mate and to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court. So, aside from the fact that identity politics continues to be the #1 concern of Party leaders, that tells us that Biden would not choose Bernie as a “unity” running mate. Biden did pledge to support Bernie if he won the nomination, but that’s the kind of easy, empty promise politicians make when they’re sure it will never happen (like Hillary promising to respect the results of the election if she lost.)

A few more random thoughts: Biden has moved so far to the left to challenge Bernie that calling him a “moderate” is about as believable as calling him an Olympic decathlete. Both of these guys, should they ever (God forbid!) become President, vow to end fracking and oil drilling, and replace it with sun power and windmills (they might as well toss in unicorn burps for all the good it will do.) That would not only destroy the domestic fuel industry and millions of jobs, it would send gas and oil prices skyrocketing and vastly enrich and empower Russia and OPEC at our expense.

They also seem to be in agreement that virtually all immigration laws should be scrapped. They would turn millions of current illegal immigrants into US citizens, give all illegal immigrants free health care, end ICE raids that arrest illegals with criminal records and deportation orders, end all deportations for at least six months and not deport anyone just for having a criminal record in their home nations (only after they commit a felony here), and be a lot nicer at the border, making it easier and faster for people who cross illegally to get processed and released.

But they’re not for open borders! Perish the thought! They’re just for the functional equivalent of open borders. Instead of building a wall on the border, they’d build a giant WELCOME mat. And they'd do much better than Trump at preventing the spread of foreign diseases, apparently by making it illegal to call them "foreign diseases."

They’re also in agreement (in the midst of a pandemic) that Donald Trump is the only “existential threat” America faces, and that everything he’s doing to stop the coronavirus is wrong, so we have to elect them so they can do the exact same things only with no travel restictions. Here’s an example of how much they really know about this issue.

Bottom line: since the debate didn’t seem to change the dynamics of the race, and Bernie shows no intentions of bowing out, it looks as if things will drag on as before. Biden will likely win the most delegates but possibly fall short of enough to clinch the nomination before the convention. If Biden picks a woman VP, that means no Bernie on the ticket, which will infuriate the Bernie Bros. If he does pick Bernie, he will infuriate women and anyone who cares about the future of America. So once again, in an unbroken winning streak, the winner of the Democratic debate was Donald Trump.

This Coronavirus is really having an impact on our lives. The stock market has been in free-fall because of the uncertainty of how many people will get sick and what it’s doing to all sectors of the economy, especially the travel industry. Cruise ships are empty, entire nations like Italy, are virtually shutting down, and flights are being canceled all over the world as well as major events being canceled like the South by Southwest Festival in Austin. At public events, I’m now noticing that most people prefer an elbow bump or a wave instead of the customary handshake. Here in our theater, I conduct a meet and greet with our audience after the show, and I’m finding that more of the audience prefers a simple hello rather than shaking hands as well, but I think it’s mostly because there are rumors about me—not that I have coronavirus, but that I have cooties.

Commentary continues below advertisement

The medical advice hasn’t been consistent in this. Some say not to worry, go on with your business and others say don’t travel at all and stay home. The one thing agreed upon is to wash your hands—a lot.

The one sector of our economy that’s booming is the sale of hand-sanitizers and disinfectant wipes. They’re sold out everywhere. There are even instructions on how to make your own sanitizer by mixing aloe vera gel with rubbing alcohol or with vodka. So, if you see a bunch of your Baptist friends at the liquor store buying up the booze, I’m sure they are there to get the ingredients for hand sanitizer. But boy are they licking their fingers a lot!

I don’t mean to make light of this. It’s a serious issue and one death from it is one too many, but while I’ll take all the precautions I can, I’m not going to stop living my life out of fear of what might happen. I will stop eating directly off buffets with the serving spoon or drinking out of water bottles that people have left opened and half used in airplane seat-back pockets. But I already wash my hands a lot and usually scrub them like a surgeon, especially after shaking a lot of hands. I try to never touch the bottom of my shoes and I do wipe the surfaces around my tray table and seat on airplanes. I only sneeze on planes when the guy in front of me puts his seat right in my face and try to limit my coughing in the direction of people who talk loudly on their cell phones on planes or in restrooms.

We have to take the coronavirus seriously, but we need to use common sense and ultimately trust the Lord to protect us when all our efforts won’t. It’s not practical for me to stop flying, but now that so many in the public are afraid of being on planes because of the virus, I’m flying with fewer people these days so there is a silver lining in those clouds. So if I see you in the airport or on the streets, a nice wave, deep bow from the waist, or tip of the hat will do fine as a greeting to replace the handshake or the kiss on the cheek. And I’m speaking of the cheek on my face of course!

Friday, President Trump held a news conference in which he officially declared the COVID-19 coronavirus to be a national emergency. That quickly freed up about $50 billion worth of federal aid. This comes just two days after the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. Also, in a move that shows how different this President is from previous Presidents (and how vastly different he is from those who seek to replace him), he announced that he had struck deals with some of America’s largest corporations, such as WalMart, Target, Google and CVS, to use their vast resources to assist in fighting the disease and helping Americans with procedures and testing. Instead of using the emergency as an “opportunity” to grow government, he’s employing the greater efficiency of the private sector in partnership with government.

Trump also announced that he’s waiving interest on federally-held student loans until further notice.

Another way Trump is different from any Democrat seeking to replace him is that he also declared Sunday to be a National Day of Prayer.

Commentary continues below advertisement

Trump’s actions must have impressed Wall Street, since the Dow roared back by nearly 2,000 points, the biggest one-day gain since the 2008 meltdown, shortly after it took the worst drop since 1987.

Also, late last night, the House passed a bill providing emergency funding for dealing with the pandemic, after the Administration demanded a rewrite due to objections that House Democrats were larding up the bill with lefty wish list items, like taxpayer-paid abortions.

Here’s the full text of Trump’s letter:

And full video of the press conference:

You can safely skip the Q&A from reporters at the end. It was mostly a lot of lame “gotcha” attempts by reporters who don’t seem to get that Trump is dealing with a life-or-death health crisis, and very effectively. This is not the time to try to undermine his efforts with your one-track-mind Trump Derangement Syndrome. As noted previously, even such rabid anti-Trump Governors as California’s Gavin Newsom and New York’s Andrew Cuomo…

…have praised Trump and his team for quickly providing them with everything they promised. I’m glad of this, but not that surprised: Governors may be politicians, but it's much more important to be pragmatic and work with whoever you have to in order to protect your state’s citizens. If actual Democratic politicians can put aside partisanship and acknowledge that Trump is doing a good job, maybe the amateur Democratic politicians in the media could try that as well.

When I see how many ways the media try to attack Trump (when one path fails, they try another, then another), it makes me think that COVID-19 may not be the most aggressive virus plaguing America today. For instance, Trump was called a racist, xenophobic incompetent for acting too quickly to shut down all travel from China. Once it became apparent that bought us precious time, they attacked him for not doing it soon enough. Now, they’re trying to circle back to the nonsense “racist” charge, but in a way that only makes themselves look hypocritical…

As for the claim that Trump was ignoring the coronavirus or not doing enough, Deborah Birx, the internationally known HIV/AIDS expert appointed by Trump to help coordinate his coronavirus response, said there has been “intense effort” put into bringing quality testing kits to people “at unprecedented speed,” adding, “I understand that a lot of this behind-the-scenes action in the last couple of weeks was invisible to the press and the American people.”

So she’s saying that Trump and his people were actually exerting intense effort to deal with the crisis, but the public might not have known it because they were putting their efforts into dealing with the crisis rather than trying to make themselves look good to the media.

I think I’ve just found another way that this President is very different from all the people trying to replace him!

For the past three years or so, I’ve heard Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) constantly assail President Trump for not having the proper character or temperament to be President. But I’ve always felt that you could judge those things best by watching what someone does in a crisis.

So far in this pandemic, I have seen Trump move early and amid heavy criticism to try to stop people with infections from coming into the US (you can’t keep a virus out, but you can slow it down and buy precious time.) He’s appointed the best people possible and given them the power, budget and leeway to do what they think needs to be done. He’s taken actions that he knew would kneecap the economy and harm his biggest reelection selling point, but he put the good of America first and did it anyway (I could name some other politicians who would not have done that in an election year - and when faced with the situation, didn’t.) He's trying to walk a tightrope between making the dangers of the disease very clear and reassuring people that it will be all right so don't panic. And he’s reached out to the other Party, urging them to put partisanship aside and work together to deal with the crisis.

Commentary continues below advertisement

So…how has the other side responded? You know, the people with such high standards of “character” for others? Thus far, they have relentlessly attacked, mocked, criticized, second-guessed and undermined everything Trump has tried to do. They accused him of being racist for shutting down travel from China, then after it became clear that was a very smart move, they criticized him for not doing it sooner. They blamed his speech for the drop in the Dow, even though markets were plummeting worldwide before he ever even spoke, and there was nothing he could have said that would have been interpreted as good news for stocks.

They claimed that Obama would have dealt with a health crisis much better, even though he acted much more slowly in dealing with swine flu. Plus, his Administration spent several years and around $2 billion just to create a health insurance website that didn’t work.

Oh, and let’s not overlook the shameless, self-serving opportunism. Like House Democrats’ attempts to load up the emergency coronavirus funding bill with liberal wish list pork, including Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to sneak in taxpayer funding of abortion. Memo to Speaker Pelosi: the idea of this bill is to PREVENT death, not subsidize it.

Fortunately, the GOP Senate will have time to go through the House bill and disinfect it, since Mitch McConnell canceled next week’s scheduled recess:

Joe Biden (or more likely, his staffers) rushed out a harsh criticism of Trump’s “lack of leadership” and a list of things that Biden would have been done, all of which have already been done by Trump. Well, all except the first thing, which was to insure that no bias against Asian or Pacific American peoples be tolerated. That’s the modern Democrats in a nutshell: so obsessed with identity politics that their #1 priority in dealing with a pandemic is to assume Americans will react to it like violent racists and virtual signal at us. I’d like to see the lab work that shows the virus cannot penetrate a thick layer of self-righteousness.

It’s also been noted how amazing it is that the solution to every crisis is to implement whatever the left has already been pushing for. For many, this crisis has been the perfect excuse to push for full government control of health care (even as they are attacking the government under Trump for “botching” the handling of health care.) Example: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tried to claim that South Korea got the infection under control because they have “single payer health care.”

Twitter users quickly reminded her that so does Italy, and they’re so overwhelmed that hospitals are denying care to elderly people and sending them home. Should we call the officials who have to break that news to the elderly Italians “death panels”?

As for the news media, I’m sure you know how well they reacted to Trump’s call for unity. For instance, CNN’s Don Lemon nearly blew a gasket when he couldn’t get even noted Trump critic John Kasich to attack Trump’s handling of the crisis.

We’ve also had a rash of media outlets declaring that Trump or anyone else who describes the disease as the “Wuhan virus,” the China virus or even a “foreign virus” is racist and xenophobic. In doing this, they’re carrying water for the communist government in Beijing, which started calling that racist because even though it was 100% accurate, it was bad for their phony image. It's actually no more racist than calling linguini "Italian food."

This prompted conservatives on social media to pull up dozens of clips of the PC talking heads using those exact same terms over the past month. Here’s a sample compilation:

I was genuinely hoping that the media and the Democrats would heed Trump’s call to put America first, set aside partisanship and pull together (some, like California Gov. Gavin Newsom, really are.) But I guess that for some of them, that’s like expecting a duck not to quack. It’s disgusting that they can see something that’s causing so much human suffering as an opportunity to score cheap political points. But their attempts are so obvious – and so repulsive – that this coronavirus episode might prove very costly to them in the long run.