Congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), appeared on Capitol Hill along with the PBS Kids character Arthur to call for restoring funding for public broadcasting, now threatened as part of a deficit reduction measure advanced by Republicans.

That a cuddly character has been brought in to help with the nitty gritty business of lobbying is no surprise. In the past it has been Big Bird — and funding has been saved.

But Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is calling out “the Muppet lobby.”

In a blog post, he writes, “Make no mistake, public broadcasting’s furry friends are political animals.

“Elmo has been particularly busy. 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.  If the FCC can borrow Elmo from PBS to build support for their plans, what’s to stop the Department of Health and Human Services from feeding Big Bird some lines?

“It’s time to draw a clear distinction between the government and entertainment. Democrats shouldn’t cast our children’s most beloved creatures as characters for their big-government, big-spending causes.”

To clarify: Arthur is not a Muppet. Elmo, Big Bird and the Cookie Monster are.