Bill Whalen

Research Fellow

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 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

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Jerry Brown and the Windmills

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 23, 2017

While California’s governor tilts against “the forces of carbonization,” he pays too little heed to more pressing programs, such as housing, taxes, and pensions. 


The End Of An Era In California Politics?

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

California's 2018 calendar includes milestones glorious and tragic – 60 years since the Dodgers and Giants arrived on the West Coast; 50 years since Bobby Kennedy’s promise was cut short by a gunman lurking in the pantry of a Los Angeles hotel.

George W. Bush
Analysis and Commentary

A Course Correction For American Politics: Have George W. Bush Teach A Course On Dignity

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lost in the media avalanche that buried Harvey Weinstein last week was this news item: Hillary Clinton reportedly in talks with Columbia University to take on some kind of professorial role.

Analysis and Commentary

Gas Tax Repeal Isn’t Going To Save California Republicans

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, October 12, 2017

California Republicans have a taxing problem: Should they rest their party’s sagging fortunes on voters’ desire to reject higher gasoline taxes via a referendum next fall?


The '90's Aren't Calling -- And I'd Really Like Their Politics Back

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, October 8, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence is a better man than me: he had the good sense to walk out of today’s NFL game between San Francisco 49ers and the hometown Indianapolis Colts.

Analysis and Commentary

If The Left’s Goal Is To Sway Nancy Pelosi, Here’s How To Do It

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On this first week after the autumnal equinox, the Golden State bids adieu to the golden anniversary of the fabled “Summer of Love” in San Francisco.

Analysis and Commentary

Politics Makes For Strange Bedfellows, Or So Trump Learns The Hard Way In Alabama

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A little perspective as we try to make sense of an Alabama Senate special election in which the populist upstart, Judge Roy Moore, unseated the establishment choice, Republican Sen. Luther Strange (appointed to the seat after Jeff Sessions became U.S. Attorney General).

Analysis and Commentary

California's Legislative Session: A Triumph For Those Who Trash Trump And Troglodytes

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, September 18, 2017

Near the end of the Oscar-winning Chariots Of Fire, there’s a scene where the fabled track coach Sam Mussabini berates sprinter Harold Abrahams over his poor performance in an Olympics heat.

Analysis and Commentary

If Gov. Brown Insists On Traveling, Here’s Where He Should Go

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

After six years of rarely venturing beyond California, Jerry Brown is spreading his wings. Earlier this month, it was a quick trip to an economic conference in Vladivostok, Russia. In November, he’s off to Germany for a U.N. conference on climate change.

Analysis and Commentary

File Under 'Nobody Cheers For Goliath': California Wanting To Vote Early In 2020

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, September 11, 2017

It turns out that there’s a fine line between California dreaming and California scheming. Just ask Democratic state lawmakers who want to advance the state’s presidential primary as early as possible in 2020 – to early March and at the front of the line after the opening caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.