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


It’s Time For Brown To Shake Up His Routine

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Of all the compelling images spilling out of the near-calamity at the Oroville Dam – raging waters, gridlocked highways packed with evacuees – the picture that stands out is the one never taken: Gov. Jerry Brown touring the troubled spillway.

Analysis and Commentary

California Needs To Get Along With Trump–Or Tap Bay Area’s Richest To Write Checks

by Bill Whalenvia The Mercury News
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Local transportation officials want an electrified Caltrain running though Silicon Valley. Downtown San Jose anxiously awaits a BART subway stop. In each case, California is looking for the feds to foot the bill – about $100 billion in state improvements, if Brown got everything on his wish list.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Can Try To Get Even With The Courts -- Or Get To Work And Start Nominating Judges

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, February 12, 2017

In the aftermath of the judicial roadblock of his immigration executive order, President Trump doesn’t lack for options.

Football in motion over grass
Analysis and Commentary

Tom Brady Should Retire -- And A Lot Of Politicians Would Do Well To Follow His Lead

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

At the risk of being banned in Boston, I’m going to suggest something anathema to every New England Patriots fan, not to mention millions of Super Bowl viewers worldwide captivated by the comeback he engineered. Tom Brady should retire.

Analysis and Commentary

Keeping Up With The Kardashians? Try Keeping Up With Trump

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, February 5, 2017

An unofficial rite of passage for new presidencies is allowing NBC News a glimpse under the tent – letting the network inside the West Wing, cameras in tow, to film “a day in the life” of the White House.

Analysis and Commentary

With Democrats In Trouble, Here’s An Idea To Amp Up Trump Protests From California

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, February 2, 2017

If you’re heading to the Sacramento or San Francisco airports this weekend, prepare for the usual inconveniences – weather, traffic, security screening.

Analysis and Commentary

Four Ways Trump Can Go On Offense With His Supreme Court Pick

by Bill Whalenvia Fox News
Monday, January 30, 2017

I’m neither a foreign policy nor national security wonk, so I’ll leave it to others to weigh the geopolitical merits of President Trump’s immigration executive order.

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Change for a Dollar?

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 27, 2017

Even his former enemy King George III called George Washington “the greatest man in the world.” Tell that to the activist trying to rename a San Francisco school. 

Analysis and Commentary

After The March On Washington, What About A March On Tom Price's District?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

If you have a spare moment – 16 of them, actually – I recommend watching this video of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the Address, delivered Tuesday morning in Sacramento.

Analysis and Commentary

In Trump's Inaugural Address Here's The One Word No American Should Miss

by Bill Whalenvia Fox News
Friday, January 20, 2017

As I readied for President Donald Trump’s inaugural address, thoughts of James K. Polk came to mind.