Bill Whalen

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution research fellow since 1999, writes and comments on campaigns, elections and governance with an emphasis on California and America’s political landscapes.

Whalen is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee and writes on politics and current events for Forbes.com. His commentary can also be seen on the opinion pages of the Wall Street JournalReal Clear Politics, Los Angeles Times and the Fox News’ website.

Whalen has been a guest political analyst on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN. He’s also a regular guest on the nationally syndicated radio shows hosted by John Batchelor, Larry Kudlow, Lars Larson and the Bay Area’s Michael Krasny.

Whalen has served as a media consultant for California political hopefuls and aspiring policy leaders. His past clients have included former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former congressman Tom Campbell and former Los Angeles mayor Richard J. Riordan.

Prior to joining the Hoover Institution, Whalen served as 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.

Before moving to California, 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. 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 and 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

IntroductionFeatured

Back To School In California—And Back To This Question: Does The State’s K–12 System Deserve A Passing Grade?

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Thursday, August 17, 2017

If you’re looking to grade public education in California, pass-fail probably isn’t the way to go but make sure to leave plenty of room in the “comments” section of your report card. On the one hand, the system has bred success. The late Steve Jobs was a product of California’s K12 system. 

Analysis and Commentary

Early-Primary States Loves L.A's Mayor. But California? Historically, Not So Much

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, August 17, 2017

Two rising stocks have caught my eye – one being Apple, which reached a record high earlier this week before announcing that it’s going to war with Netflix on the video content front.

Featured

Could California Republicans Get A Boost From Ballot Measures?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, August 17, 2017

Earlier this year, a New York assemblyman introduced a bill – it never made it to a floor vote – to ban tackle football for that state’s kids ages 13 and younger. Upon further review, how did Albany beat Sacramento to the punch?

Analysis and Commentary

What Does Trump Do Next? Try Looking Back At Obama And Clinton

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, marks two years and two months to the day that Donald Trump descended the escalator in the eponymous Trump Tower and began arguably the most improbable presidential campaign in American history.

Analysis and Commentary

On A California Recall Anniversary, What Might Have Been—If The Running Man Doesn't Run

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, August 5, 2017

Hard to believe, but this weekend marks 14 years since Arnold Schwarzenegger pulled off a plot twist that was creative, even by Hollywood standards, and declared himself a candidate in California’s gubernatorial recall election.

Analysis and Commentary

The Problem Isn’t Josh Newman, It’s Recalls

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Wednesday, August 2, 2017

You might recall that California voters can recall incumbent lawmakers if they so desire. It’s what brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to the state Capitol, broom in hand. It may deliver a new state senator in the Southland.

Analysis and Commentary

Yes, Virginia, There's A Lot At Stake In Your State's Governor's Race

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

To the list of such certainties as death and taxes, add Virginia’s governor’s race. Here’s why.

Featured

Not A White House Failure To Communicate, But An Aversion To Driving A Message

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, July 22, 2017

I don’t have a degree in economics and I’ve never worked a day in the financial sector, but if asked I’m ready to run a hedge fund.

Analysis and Commentary

The Many Ways Republicans Running For Governor Don’t Scare Democrats

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Years ago, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan used an oft-used phrase – “the dance of the lemons” – to lament the education establishment’s penchant for shuffling bad teachers from district to district.

California flag
Analysis and Commentary

California On A Jenner Bender? Doubtful, But Its Political Leadership Is Transitioning

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, July 16, 2017

In this weekend’s political news of the odd, we have this report of Caitlyn Jenner pondering a U.S. Senate run – presumably a challenge to Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who’s up for re-election next year.

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