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


The Two Parties Spent $50 Million In One Georgia Race, Yet Voters Still Got Shortchanged

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Not to suggest that the quality of politics in this nation isn’t what it once was, but . . . take a look at the lead players in the House special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

Analysis and Commentary

In The Summer Of "Wonder Woman", Hillary Should End The Winter (And Spring) Of Her Discontent

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, June 11, 2017

If last November wasn’t about cracking a glass ceiling, then this summer might be. As of this weekend, the cinematic smash Wonder Woman has raked in a cool $435 million in worldwide box office, making it the hottest start for a film directed by a woman (that would be Patty Jenkins).

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Area 45: The Art Of Presidential Wordsmithery Featuring Peter Robinson

interview with Peter M. Robinson, Bill Whalenvia Area 45
Monday, June 5, 2017

Presidential communication  in this age of shock tweets and nonstop news cycles.

Analysis and Commentary

Time For Another Bush-Clinton Bonding? This Time, Dubya Mentoring Hillary

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, May 29, 2017

Hillary Clinton doesn’t lack for attention these days. Last week, she delivered a commencement address at her college alma mater (Wellesley, Class of 1969).

Analysis and Commentary

2020 Primary Planners Should Follow The NBA's Lead

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, May 27, 2017

I live in a state – California – that suffers from a lack of presidential self-esteem. To the extent the Golden State was involved in 2016 in deciding the next leader of the Free World, it was presidential wannabes summiting in Burbank with the Leader of Free Afternoon Television – Ellen DeGeneres.


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

California Voters Have Specific Ideas On Where To Spend Gas Tax Money

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, May 25, 2017

The best piece of journalism that you probably didn’t see last week comes courtesy of PolitiFact California, which addressed the question: “Is Jerry Brown ‘diverting’ 30 percent of California’s new gas tax money?”

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.