Linda Chavez is a right-wing pundit, anti-union demagogue, and foreign policy hawk. Chavez gained notoriety as President George W. Bush's first nominee to be Secretary of Labor, a nomination Chavez was forced to decline after it was revealed that she had employed an undocumented immigrant at her home. She also has a long history of right-wing activism.
Chavez has supported or worked for a string of rightist outfits, including the Manhattan Institute, the Independent Women's Forum, and the Center for Equal Opportunity. Joining neoconservative stalwarts like William Kristol, William Bennett, Daniel Pipes, Ken Adelman, Gary Bauer, Norman Podhoretz, Robert Kagan, Midge Decter, and James Woolsey, Chavez also signed an April 2002 letter from the Project for the New American Century urging President Bush to remove Saddam Hussein from power and "to stand with Israel in its fight against terrorism."
A columnist for the Creators Syndicate, Chavez regularly tackles a host of issues of importance to conservatives, including foreign policy. Claiming in an October 2012 column that "Iran is four years closer to nuclear weapons" than it was at the outset of the Obama administration—a claim rejected by contemporary intelligence analysts in both the United States and Israel—Chavez wrote that while "international sanctions [against Iran] are certainly a step in the right direction, … regime change should be the ultimate goal of U.S. policy." In addition to threatening military force, Chavez argued that the United States should assist dissident Iranian groups like the MEK, which was until recently considered a proscribed terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
Chavez has attempted to link foreign policy rhetoric to her anti-union activism. In a 2003 fund-raising letter for her advocacy outfit Stop Union Political Abuse, Chavez argued that "liberal politics" were aiding terrorism. Calling herself "Big Labor's Worst Nighmare," Chavez wrote: "AFL-CIO boss John Sweeney is an avowed Socialist, by his own admission. And he's put BILLIONS into pushing the Socialist agenda. … We can cripple liberal politics in this country by passing the Workers' Freedom of Choice Act. If we stop now, the terrorists win."
Two years earlier, just after she withdrew her nomination for labor secretary, Chavez was singing a very different tune, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "I think organized labor, I think quite mistakenly, somehow thought that I was going to be their worst nemesis. I had a very nice talk with John Sweeney this morning, by the way, and I don't think ... that would have been the case. I think I would have actually been very helpful in trying to bridge a gap that exists between the Republican Party and organized labor."
In her one foray into electoral politics, Chavez challenged Democrat Barbara Mikulski in Maryland's 1986 Senate race. According to author Victor Kamber, Chavez caricatured Mikulski, a lifelong resident of Baltimore, "as a 'San Francisco-style liberal,' using that city's reputation as a haven for homosexuals to insinuate that the unmarried Mikulski was a lesbian." Chavez also attacked one of Mikulski's former staffers as "a radical feminist" who held "anti-male" views. "Fortunately," wrote Kamber, "both attacks fell flat," and Mikulski handily defeated Chavez.