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

Analysis and Commentary

How Serious Is Schwarzenegger On Redistricting?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, March 16, 2017

As my faithful chocolate lab approaches a 10th birthday, an apology is in order. For the past decade, I’ve denied him a sibling – a rival with whom to tug on ropes, test wills and ultimately decide who’s the alpha dog. Canine psychology may explain the odd coupling that is Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger – “deplorable” meets “expendable.”

Analysis and Commentary

Can Democrats Find Their Gubernatorial Groove? Can Republicans Gain Ground In California?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

John Cox is running for governor of California. As far as I know, he’s not related to Edward Cox, Richard Nixon’s son-in-law, Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor Nixon wanted fired, or James M. Cox, the answer to the question of who lost to Warren Harding in 1920.

Analysis and Commentary

A Strategy For Trump: Escape The Washington Bubble, Tout His Agenda, Pressure Congress

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, March 5, 2017

Years ago, the political strategist Dick Morris liked to suggest that America’s chief executive suffered from a split personality – a “Saturday night Bill Clinton” who lacked good moral judgment; a more pious “Sunday morning President Clinton” who was a devoted public servant.

US Capitol Building

D.C. And West Coast Are Worlds Apart

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, March 2, 2017

This column comes from the nation’s capital, where it dawns on me that I’ve reached a dubious milestone: the first one-third of my professional career was spent practicing the black arts of politics, policy and media here in Washington, D.C.; the more recent two-thirds has been toiling in a similar vineyard in California.

Analysis and Commentary

Four Big Takeaways (And Four Shocking Surprises) From Trump's Speech

by Bill Whalenvia Fox News
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Maybe I have baseball on the brain, but when I watch President Trump what I’ve seen to date is one fastball after another.


Not A State Of The Union, But A Chance For Trump To State His Presidency's Case

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, February 25, 2017

First things first, with regard to President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress – the first of his young presidency: it’s not a State of The Union.

Analysis and Commentary

Create A White House West At Moffett Field

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

If ever there were a love-hate relationship, it would be the one shared by the Bay Area and recent American presidencies.

Analysis and Commentary

For A President With A Rolling Stones Soundtrack, It All Comes Down To "Satisfaction"

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Forecasting the Trump Presidency is a matter of which island you choose to inhabit.


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.