Cover image for An unlikely conservative : the transformation of an ex-liberal, or, how I became the most hated Hispanic in America
An unlikely conservative : the transformation of an ex-liberal, or, how I became the most hated Hispanic in America
Chavez, Linda.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
262 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E840.8.C435 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E840.8.C435 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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When President George W. Bush nominated Linda Chavez to be Secretary of Labor in January 2001, most political observers saw it as a nod to the right. Chavez had made her reputation taking on the civil rights establishment, the feminist movement, and the multiculturalists. What few people knew was that this hard-nosed conservative began her career among socialists and labor-union officials, teaching in college affirmative-action programs and writing political propaganda for the Democratic National Committee.In An Unlikely Conservative, Chavez recounts her political journey from the Young People's Socialist League to the Reagan wing of the Republican Party-and the sometimes shocking personal experiences that shaped her views. From excrement-smeared car seats to threats of attacks with bombs and switchblades, she learned quickly that opposing racial quotas and ethnic studies carried a high personal cost. But at its core, hers is the story of a working-class Hispanic girl who overcomes a difficult and painful childhood to become one of America's most prominent political conservatives.

Author Notes

Linda Chavez is president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a non-profit public policy research organization in Washington, D.C. She writes a nationally syndicated column and serves as a political analyst for Fox News channel. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, she now lives in Purcellville, Virginia with her family

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Nearly two years after losing her chance to be President Bush's secretary of labor, Chavez offers up a memoir cum apologia steeped in defensiveness. Although she recognizes that her failure to be candid with Bush's advisers about the illegal alien she housed for an extended period in the early 1990s cost her the cabinet position, she doesn't hesitate to pass the blame around. She lashes out at the media's coverage of her downfall and at the neighbor she asked for advice before talking to the FBI, who turned out to be the sister of ABC's White House correspondent. Her self-righteousness shapes the bulk of the narrative: all her professional setbacks, for example, were inevitably the fault of white administrators who didn't expect her kind of talent from an affirmative action minority. Then there's the constant rejection from Hispanic peers, who "viewed me not just as an opponent but as a heretic, a traitor." The story of her transition from college liberalism and union activism to various appointments in the Reagan administration has several interesting sections, like her combative experiences as a grad student teaching UCLA's first "Chicano literature" class. But many will find it hard to feel sympathy for someone who takes such glee in the opportunity, now that she apparently has nothing left to lose politically, to settle old scores. Agent, Eric Simonoff. (Oct. 1) Forecast: Chavez has visibility with a syndicated newspaper column and appearances on Fox News Channel. A seven-city author tour and 20-city radio satellite tour will also help this reach readers of Ann Coulter's Slander and J.C. Watts's forthcoming What Color Is a Conservative (HarperCollins, Sept.). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prologue: On Top of the Worldp. 1
1 Skeletons in the Closetp. 23
2 From Teenage Bride to Campus Activistp. 43
3 Affirmative Action Nightmarep. 69
4 Watergate, Nixon, and Mep. 87
5 The Evolution of a Neoconservativep. 113
6 Battling the Civil Rights Establishmentp. 137
7 A Woman's Place in the Reagan White Housep. 169
8 On the Campaign Trailp. 187
9 How I Became the Most Hated Hispanic in Americap. 197
10 Caught in the Media Crosshairsp. 219
Epilogue: Thorn in Their Sidep. 243
Notesp. 246
Indexp. 255