Bill Whalen

Research Fellow

Bill Whalen is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he studies and writes on current events and political trends with an emphasis on California's political landscape. As a research fellow, he is a contributor to the Hoover Digest and Policy Review, which are also published by Hoover.

Whalen writes frequently for leading California opinion makers including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Diego Union Tribune. His by-line also appears on the Weekly Standard's website, He has been a guest political analyst on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. He can also be seen and heard on Bay Area radio and television, commenting on current events, in addition to frequent appearances on the nationwide radio program hosted by Hoover media fellow John Batchelor.

Whalen also serves as a media consultant for California political hopefuls and aspiring policy leaders. His clients have included former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former California secretary of state Bill Jones, former congressman Tom Campbell and former Los Angeles mayor Richard J. Riordan.

From 1994 to 1999, Whalen was the 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.

A native of Washington, D.C., Whalen was steeped in politics long before he relocated to California. From 1985 to 1991, 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. In citing Whalen as one of its "top-ten" political reporters, The 1992 Media Guide said of his work: "The New York Times could trade six of its political writers for Whalen and still get a bargain." 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 in 1992. In 1993, he 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

Featured Commentary

The Sound Of Republican Music: How Do You Solve A Problem Like The Donald?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, July 23, 2015

Updated 50 years after the movie’s original release, the current Republican presidential field would seem a 2015 version of The Sound Of Music, complete with this ditty: “How Do You Solve a Problem Like The Donald?”

IntroductionFeatured Commentary

California’s Up-and-Down Revenue Stream: Is State Tax Reform, Up, Down…or Out?

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

California may be parched and arid, thanks to a historic drought.  Meanwhile, Sacramento is awash with money – about $6.7 billion more than government bean counters were counting on as recently as January.

Podcast: The Eureka Podcast: “Tax Reform in California”
Featured Commentary

Here's What Else The Pope And California's Governor Can Discuss

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, July 20, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown has ventured from Sacramento to Vatican City this week, to huddle with other concerned American politicians over climate change – a concern shared by Pope Francis (meeting the Pope is every Catholic politician’s dream – just ask John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, who’ll be on hand when His Holiness addresses a joint meeting of Congress in late September).

Featured Commentary

Tear Down This Reagan Statue?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, July 19, 2015

Try this for holding a grudge. In 1970, Cruz Reynoso was working for California Rural Legal Assistance — the same year that then-Gov. Ronald Reagan vetoed funding for the legal services program.

Featured Commentary

Bill Whalen: Five Ways Maine Is Better Than California

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, July 16, 2015

After a few days’ stay on the other coast, one thing is clear: As Maine goes, so too should California.

Featured Commentary

Bracketing The GOP'S Sweet Sixteen

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A week from now, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is expected to formally announce his candidacy for the White House. When that happens, the Republican field will stand at 16.

GOP Image

GOP Bracketology — A July Version

by Bill Whalenvia A Day At The Races
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Now that Scott Walker’s in the race, with John Kasich on tap for next week, the GOP’s 2016 field soon will total 16 presidential candidates.

Featured Commentary

When Will Hillary Clinton Stop Playing Mind Games With The Media?

by Bill Whalenvia Fox News
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Like life itself, presidential candidacies can come down to a few moments. Ted Kennedy’s inability to tell Roger Mudd why he wanted to be president was a gaffe he couldn’t overcome. The elder George Bush turned the tables on Dan Rather, providing sorely needed mojo to his presidential run.

Featured Commentary

Hillary And The Media: No Mutual Admiration, But Mutually Beneficial?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Right after the airing of Hillary Clinton’s interview with CNN — her first sit-down with a national news network since she launched her presidential effort — I fired off this op-ed.


Will The Sixties Live On... In 2016?

by Bill Whalenvia A Day At The Races
Monday, July 6, 2015

Some of what’s been in the news lately shows that the turbulent decade that was the 1960’s still has an effect on us — and may yet impact the 2016 election.