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

Democratic Field Could Benefit From Brown’s Centrism

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, March 26, 2015

If the goal is to persuade Gov. Jerry Brown to run for president, we’ve been going about it the wrong way.

Featured Commentary

Jerry Brown's Three-Point Energy Plan Appeases Only Democrats

by Bill Whalenvia Orange County Register
Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jerry Brown is California’s longest-serving governor, not to mention one of its more arcane chief executives in recent times. Brown doesn’t do many in-depth interviews; he cares little for insights into his political psyche.


Kasich Closed — Or Open To A Run?

by Bill Whalenvia A Day At The Races
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ohio Gov. John Kasich popped into New Hampshire on Tuesday, meaning one of three things

IntroductionFeatured Commentary

Explaining Jerry Brown’s Newfound Energy (Policy)

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Monday, March 23, 2015

By tradition, a California governor’s second-term inaugural address is a good indicator of how the term-limited chief executive of America’s nation-state plans to ride off into the sunset. Pete Wilson’s second-term inaugural, delivered 20 years ago, included talk of shrinking government (lower taxes and less regulation) to spur economic growth.

Podcast: The Eureka Podcast – “Jerry Brown, Environmental Visionary?”

Cruz Missive

by Bill Whalenvia A Day At The Races
Monday, March 23, 2015

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has made it official: he’s running for president. That’s two Republicans now in the hunt for the nomination (surely you’ve heard of Mark Everson).


The Headache Factor

by Bill Whalenvia A Day At The Races
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The New York Times celebrated St Patrick’s Day not with a wearin’ of the green, but instead a wary look at the long shots in the Republican presidential field.


The GOP’s Fight Club

by Bill Whalenvia A Day At The Races
Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sometimes, late-night television writers have to scrounge for material. Other times, comedy falls right in their laps.


The Ides Have It

by Bill Whalenvia A Day At The Races
Sunday, March 15, 2015

It’s the Ides of March, which leads us in one of two directions.

US senator Marco Rubio

An Age-Appropriate Republican In 2016?

by Bill Whalenvia A Day At The Races
Friday, March 13, 2015

I have this column in this morning’s Sacramento Bee posing a simple question: is 2016 an opportunity for the GOP to break with its recent pattern of presidential nominees and go instead with a candidate in his or her 40s?

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Featured Commentary

Rubio’s Youth Could Give Him A Leg Up In GOP Field

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, March 12, 2015

You won’t find him at the front of any presidential preference surveys, but at this very early stage in the nominating process, here are two reasons why Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida bears watching.