Bill Whalen

Research Fellow
Biography: 

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 Forbes.com. 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

Featured

Not A White House Failure To Communicate, But An Aversion To Driving A Message

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, July 22, 2017

I don’t have a degree in economics and I’ve never worked a day in the financial sector, but if asked I’m ready to run a hedge fund.

Analysis and Commentary

The Many Ways Republicans Running For Governor Don’t Scare Democrats

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Years ago, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan used an oft-used phrase – “the dance of the lemons” – to lament the education establishment’s penchant for shuffling bad teachers from district to district.

California flag
Analysis and Commentary

California On A Jenner Bender? Doubtful, But Its Political Leadership Is Transitioning

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, July 16, 2017

In this weekend’s political news of the odd, we have this report of Caitlyn Jenner pondering a U.S. Senate run – presumably a challenge to Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who’s up for re-election next year.

Featured

Jerry Brown Wants To Bring The World To San Francisco -- Even If His House Is Not In Order

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, July 6, 2017

Among today’s news coming out of the G20 Summit in Hamburg: California Gov. Jerry announcing (via a videoconference back in the U.S.) a global “climate action” conference next year in San Francisco.

Analysis and Commentary

Four Things To Like About The Fourth Of July

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, July 2, 2017

Though I’ve assigned this to the political side of the commentary aisle, let’s try to leave politics out of this discussion of the Fourth of July holiday. It’s a day set aside for parades, picnics and time-off from work.

Analysis and Commentary

They've Grown Accustomed To Her Face: A Sad Song For Democrats Heading Into 2018

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I confess to at least two indulges these days: checking baseball box scores every morning, then seeing what’s up with Nancy Pelosi.

Analysis and Commentary

Honoring One Of Sacramento’s Wise Men, A Dying Breed

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We say goodbye Thursday to a family member – “we” being those who had the privilege of working for Pete Wilson. The dearly departed was George Dunn, Wilson’s chief of staff for his final two years as governor.

Featured

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).

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).

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