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


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.

Analysis and Commentary

Georgia On The Mind, But Pay No Mind To The Results In Georgia

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I have two takeaways from Tuesday’s vote in Georgia’s 6th Congressional – the special election to replace former Rep. Tom Price – and neither is a flattering portrait of today’s politics.

Analysis and Commentary

What's A Democrat To Run On These Days? In California: Gays, Guns, Grass And Government

by Bill Whalenvia Fox News
Monday, April 17, 2017

Thanks to Hillary Clinton’s unexpected defeat last fall, Democrats face a quandary they weren’t expecting until the next decade: what does their party embody in a post-Clinton universe?

Analysis and Commentary

Do Democrats Really Want An Early California Presidential Primary?

by Bill Whalenvia Los Angeles Times
Friday, April 14, 2017

Plucked from California’s political recycling bin: proposals by Democrats in Sacramento to move the Golden State’s presidential primary election from June to the third week in March, and perhaps even earlier, in 2020. It’s not a groundbreaking concept.


Why Feinstein Might Not Want Six More Years In The Senate

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, April 13, 2017

Befitting a political career that’s spanned almost five decades, let’s look at Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s prospects through the prisms of two television commercials that aired back when California’s senior senator was cutting her teeth on San Francisco city politics.

Analysis and Commentary

Enormously Reliant Upon One Advisor, Has Trump Recreated The FDR Presidency?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, April 10, 2017

One way to look at what may have occurred inside a feuding West Wing of the Trump White House these past few days: nothing quite says career suicide quite like getting between this president and his family.

Analysis and Commentary

Hail, Hail The Gang's All Here -- But Not The Gang That Killed A Court Filibuster A Decade Ago

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Pick up a newspaper on Friday morning and, presuming you’re in a large metropolitan area with a left-leaning daily, the impression will be that of a United States Senate draped in black crèpe now that the majority Republicans have messed with tradition and invoked the “nuclear option” to clear the path for the Gorsuch nomination.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Passes On The First Pitch -- Fair Or Foul For A GOP President?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, April 3, 2017

President Trump didn’t show up for first-pitch honors on major-league baseball’s Opening Day --- the White House citing a scheduling conflict.


Three Issues That Unify Brown And Four GOP Governors Who Have A Beef With Washington

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Now that he’s appeared on “Meet the Press” and met up with the one Californian who may be the key to money flowing from the nation’s capital back to Sacramento (that would be House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy), it’s time for the next act in Gov. Jerry Brown’s national drama.

Analysis and Commentary

The Fault Lies Not In The Speaker's Plan -- It's Due In Part To The House's Rugged Math

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, March 25, 2017

At the risk of being a day late and a hot take short, I’m adding my two cents on the House’s failed experimentation with Obamacare repeal. Math is what matters most.