WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Dan Quayle says the Tea Party movement should hitch its wagon to the Republican Party if it wanted to remain a political force.
In an op-ed piece to be published in the Washington Post Sunday, Quayle compared the Tea Party crowd to the grassroots movement that rallied behind Ross Perot and became the Reform Party, which he blamed for spoiling President George H.W. Bush's re-election bid in 1992.
"According to recent polling, a similar scenario could unfold this year," Quayle wrote. "Voters would slightly favor a Republican over a Democrat in a two-person congressional race in November, but the presence of a Tea Party candidate would split the vote on the right and hand victory to the Democratic candidate."
Quayle's article came out the same day as a poll by The Winston Group that found while the majority of Tea Party supporters identified themselves a Republicans, a sizable number called themselves Democrats or independents, The Hill reported.
Quayle said it was a similar grassroots anti-tax movement that ushered Ronald Reagan into office when its members threw their weight behind the Republicans.
Quayle also advised GOP leaders that the tea parties could be courted best by sticking to economic issues and not bringing up the conservative social agenda that isn't their cup of tea.