Watching the emergence of the Tea Party movement is giving Dan Quayle flashbacks—about Ross Perot. Perot's Reform Party siphoned off 19% of the votes in the 1992 presidential election, effectively denying the elder George Bush a second term. "There's a well-worn path of third-party movements in American history, and it leads straight to a dead end," Bush's VP writes for the Washington Post.
The possibility that the Tea Party will split the anti-Obama vote in November has Quayle worried. The history of third-party campaigns demonstrates that "all that's achieved is a fragmenting of the vote, usually to the benefit of whichever major party the movement had set out to oppose,” he writes. Quayle calls on the Tea Party to use its influence to shape the agendas of Republican candidates and propel them to victory. If the party strikes out on its own, “a movement inspired to stop the big-government agenda would suddenly become its tool.”