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


California’s Economy–Lots of Zeroes, Lots of Contradictions Having to Do with Wealth, Opportunity, and Livability

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Good luck trying to get your arms–and your head–around the enormity of California’s economy. Last month, the state’s 2015 gross domestic product (GDP: a measure of goods and services) was calculated at $2.46 trillion. That’s trillions, folks, with nine zeros–as in nine shutout innings from Clayton Kershaw, nine Oscar losses suffered by Peter O’Toole and Harrison Ford, or nine months without rain in an area that not so long ago was mired in a historic drought.

Analysis and Commentary

To Regain Control Of The House, Democrats Should Promise: No Re-Speaker Pelosi

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, May 21, 2017

With talk that the U.S. House of Representatives could be in play next year – Democrats would need to gain up to 24 seats to earn a 218-seat majority – let’s take a quick look at three ways the party out of power could make that happen.

Analysis and Commentary

Mueller Should Leave No Stone Unturned -- Even If Pippa Has To Cough Up Her Caviar

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Friday, May 19, 2017

The funny thing about independent investigations at the highest levels of government: like a robot vacuum, you can’t predict which direction they’ll head in search of dirt.


Here’s A Different Approach To California’s Budget That Republicans Might Consider

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, May 11, 2017

We’re approaching the Ides of May, which means one thing in Sacramento: plenty of talk about a revised budget, hot off the presses Thursday, and whether a California economy that’s global in scale and upward in its trajectory can satisfy one nation-state’s bottomless stomach.


Trump Should Find A Democrat To Replace Comey -- If Diogenes Can Be Found These Days

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

One thing we now know about President Trump: he doesn’t appreciate irony. Tomorrow, May 10, marks the 93rd anniversary of J. Edgar Hoover taking over as acting director of the FBI. Ironically, James Comey kept a copy of Hoover’s wiretap request of Martin Luther King Jr. as a reminder of past bureau missteps.

Analysis and Commentary

California's Geriatric Liberal Leadership

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Next year marks a century since Lulu Hunt Peters, a Californian by way of Maine, gifted the world with “Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories.”

Analysis and Commentary

“Area 45”, Beaming Aboard

by Bill Whalenvia Ricochet
Friday, May 5, 2017

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new addition to Ricochet’s already impressive choice of podcast listening. Produced by the Hoover Institution, we call it “Area 45” – Hoover fellows and other notables in the greater Hoover galaxy (academics, media members, officeholders) examining various policy aspects of the 45th President of the United States.

Analysis and Commentary

Rating Trump, Obama And Recent Presidents: Let's Play It Off

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Brace yourself, but I fear we’re in for a wave of Barack Obama media nostalgia this summer. Earlier Wednesday, the former First Couple unveiled the design for their presidential library in Chicago.

Analysis and Commentary

How To Follow Trump's Opening Act? Some Second Hundred-Day Suggestions

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, April 29, 2017

And so the 100th day of the Trump presidency ended little different from most days on the 2016 campaign trail: the man whom few at first took seriously when he waded into presidential politics, making promises he may never keep in front of an adoring audience gobbling it up, all the while giving cable news the eye candy it can’t resist.


An Independence Rally Behind The California Flag? Choose One Of These Dates

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, April 27, 2017

If California’s feeling a little forlorn these days, it might be the one-two punch of postpartum non-secession depression – we’ve had a Brexit, maybe a Frexit, depending on how the French election plays out, but Calexit is a no-go for now – coupled with other states revisiting their historic roots while America’s nation-state finds its way in this turbulent time of angry populism.