AUTHOR: Tea Party leader and Republican senator Jim DeMint
THE FUSE: In protest of Republican efforts to cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a handful of Democratic representatives held a press conference on Wednesday with a mute, smiling, life-sized Arthur the Aardvark from the PBS show "Arthur." Rep. Nita Lowey, who invited Bert and Ernie to testify on Capitol Hill back in 1995, claimed that "the GOP should be less preoccupied with silencing cookie monster" and "laying off Bert and Ernie" and "more focused on reviving the economy."
THE DEMINT THESIS: "Make no mistake, public broadcasting's furry friends are political animals."
NUMBER OF THE DAY: President Obama's budget calls for $451 million in CPB funding, and DeMint puts the figure in perspective: "It would take Count Von Count more than 42 years to count the 451 million, one "Ah! Ah! Ah!" dollar at a time."
WHY ELMO IS A LOBBYIST: "Elmo has testified before Congress about the need for more funding for the arts and participated in other press conferences to increase spending on public broadcasting. Elmo even went on the lecture circuit last year with Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genochowski to promote government-funded broadband Internet. At this rate, Americans can expect Big Bird to start filming commercials to hype ObamaCare."
WHY ELMO SHOULDN'T BE A LOBBYIST: "Democrats shouldn’t cast our children's most beloved creatures as characters for their big-government, big-spending causes."
HOW COOKIE MONSTER WILL SURVIVE: DeMint claims that publicly funded media has no place in "our modern, tech-savvy society" and that Sesame Street can succeed in the private market. "When taxpayer funding for public broadcasting ends, rest assured, Cookie Monster will still be fed," he argues.
Here's the joint Democrat-muppet press conference that has DeMint so worked up: