Bill Whalen

Research Fellow

Bill Whalen is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he studies and writes on current events and political trends with an emphasis on California's political landscape. As a research fellow, he is a contributor to the Hoover Digest and Policy Review, which are also published by Hoover.

Whalen writes frequently for leading California opinion makers including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Diego Union Tribune. His by-line also appears on the Weekly Standard's website, He has been a guest political analyst on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. He can also be seen and heard on Bay Area radio and television, commenting on current events, in addition to frequent appearances on the nationwide radio program hosted by Hoover media fellow John Batchelor.

Whalen also serves as a media consultant for California political hopefuls and aspiring policy leaders. His clients have included former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former California secretary of state Bill Jones, former congressman Tom Campbell and former Los Angeles mayor Richard J. Riordan.

From 1994 to 1999, Whalen was the chief speechwriter and director of public affairs for former California governor Pete Wilson. In that capacity, he was responsible for the governor's annual State of the State address, as well as other major policy addresses.

A native of Washington, D.C., Whalen was steeped in politics long before he relocated to California. From 1985 to 1991, Whalen was a political correspondent for Insight Magazine, the national newsweekly and sister publication of the Washington Times, where he was honored for his profiles and analysis of candidates, campaigns, Congress, and the White House. In citing Whalen as one of its "top-ten" political reporters, The 1992 Media Guide said of his work: "The New York Times could trade six of its political writers for Whalen and still get a bargain." During those years, Whalen also appeared frequently on C-SPAN, National Public Radio, and CNBC.

In addition to his time in Washington as a political journalist, Whalen served as a speechwriter for the Bush-Quayle reelection campaign in 1992. In 1993, he was a senior associate with the public relations firm Robinson-Lake/Sawyer-Miller, offering media and political advice for domestic and foreign clientele.

Whalen currently resides in Palo Alto, California.

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Recent Commentary

White House at night
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Many Miles to Campaign and Promises Not to Keep

by Bill Whalenvia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, July 21, 2014

Before the world seemingly came off its hinges (truth is the first casualty of war, not Democratic fundraisers), there was the matter of presidential linguistics – specifically, Barack Obama’s overuse of the first-person singular.

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Out of One, Many

by Bill Whalenvia National Review Online
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Two adjectives that best describe California politics these days: dull and non-pioneering.

California Capitol
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Clooney for Governor?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Friday, July 11, 2014

It’s been two weeks since the topic last surfaced, so let’s revisit the buzz – make it, dead horse – that has actor and political activist George Clooney running for governor of California in 2018.

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Cleveland Rocks – In 2016

by Bill Whalenvia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

And so the Republican National Committee has recommended Cleveland as the host site for the 2016 Republican National Committee.

an image
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7 Questions For 7/7

by Bill Whalenvia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, July 7, 2014

As we mark the seventh day of the seventh month of this election year, here are seven questions to ponder.

Hillary Clinton official Secretary of State portrait
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Money Doesn’t Buy Love Nor Does It Sell Memoirs

by Bill Whalenvia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, June 30, 2014

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge an author by his or her book sales. In which case, Hillary Clinton has a problem on her pen-cramped hands.

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What if Legislators Took on Pro Sports Nicknames?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, June 26, 2014

As someone who grew up in the nation’s capital spending his Sundays rooting for the local NFL team, I’ll admit to being torn.

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GOP Senate Candidates Need New Contract With America

by Bill Whalenvia Investor's Business Daily
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Well before the votes were counted in Tuesday's Senate runoff in Mississippi, we already knew three things about America's political landscape.


Mississippi state flag
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Mississippi Turning

by Bill Whalenvia Advancing a Free Society
Sunday, June 22, 2014

This weekend saw the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Tuesday – and a statewide election in Mississippi – brings to close another chapter in what may be the longest saga in Republican politics: rival party factions at war.

US Political Parties
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The New McCarthyism for House Republicans

by Bill Whalenvia Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, June 19, 2014

Somewhere, wherever it is that politicians wind up in the next life, Frank Wheeler Mondell isn’t happy.