The Republican Party is known for a lot of things: kleptocracy, xenophobia, mendacity, authoritarianism… But one thing it is most definitely not known for is its sense of humor. For far too many conservatives, the height of humor is a lazy racist joke or some quadruple-reheated bit about gender identities. Their memes are as trash as the politicians who represent their interests.
As if setting out to prove the truism that conservatives are never funny, the official Republican National Committee research account on Twitter tweeted out an image from the beloved Steven Spielberg film E.T. with the hero Elliot’s face photoshopped to like like Vice President Kamala Harris and E.T.’s face edited to look like President Biden.
“Biden’s $3 TRILLION tax hikes are truly out of this world,” wrote the Republican running the account, someone who has apparently never seen the film in question. Elliot and E.T. are the protagonists of the film. Presumably, the GOP doesn’t want to imply that Harris and Biden are heroes but that’s exactly what this meme does. Apparently, Republican hatred of “aliens” extends far beyond those who are simply undocumented.
As for the criticism itself, Republicans are all too happy to skyrocket the deficit and give massive handouts to the super-rich when they’re in power but the moment Democrats seize the White House and start proposing spending programs that would materially improve the lives of everyday Americans they lose their minds. Not surprisingly, Twitter users were quick to mock the image.
Biden’s $3 TRILLION tax hikes are truly out of this world pic.twitter.com/j21EO7ciJa
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 5, 2021
ET and Elliott were literally the heroes.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) May 5, 2021
omg hire a 12 year old to do your memes. this is bad.
— Anita (@AnitaM86) May 5, 2021
The movie ET is about accepting an illegal alien with love, and wanting to give him a good life.
This scene is also where Elliot and ET were trying to escape forced governmental medical experimentation.
You really suck at this.
— Tuff Tiff Resists (@TuffTiffResists) May 5, 2021
Right-wing comedy is like rancid pudding laced with scraps of tin foil.
— Dennis Perkins (@DennisPerkins5) May 5, 2021
is it your understanding that E.T. and the kid were the bad guys
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) May 5, 2021
the only pop culture reference you could cook up is totally irrelevant to almost everyone under 40
— Lauren (@ActNormalOrElse) May 5, 2021
Meme like a college Republican working the social media desk at the RNC. pic.twitter.com/UR4vCkm27T
— Schooley (@Rschooley) May 6, 2021
Ooo are we doing movie parodies? pic.twitter.com/O250IGpIFP
— Mr. Fungi 🚂 (@Mister_Fun_Guy) May 6, 2021
Tax hikes will only affect people making over $400,000 a year.
The middle class is largely getting a tax cut.
— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) May 5, 2021
I can't decide the weirdest part of this. The photoshopping? That they went with a 40-year-old movie reference? That they likened their opponents to the deeply beloved heroes of that film? Or that they really think raising taxes slightly on the wealthiest Americans is unpopular?
— Allan Piper (@apiper13) May 5, 2021
The Graphic Design program at Trump University was severely underfunded.
— Twice-Impeached, One-Term Trumpy (parody) (@outofcontroljb) May 5, 2021
It's a great idea to associate your opponents with the heroes of a hugely popular movie with overwhelming nostalgia value to a critical bloc of swing voters.
Keep it up!
— G.M. Sarli 🏳️🌈♿💛 (@JediCounselor) May 5, 2021
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.