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

Analysis and Commentary

Open Primary, Presidential Buzz: The More California Changes, The More It Stays The Same

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, May 20, 2018

Californians will flock to the polls on the first Tuesday in June – among other things, to narrow its choices for the state’s next governor. So what popped up in my mailbox this weekend? No bills, no catalogues. Just two pieces of campaign literature.

Analysis and Commentary

Where Are The Mavericks In Race For California Governor?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Like Oliver Twist (“Please, sir, I want more”), I crave the gruel that is a California gubernatorial debate.

Analysis and Commentary

Here Comes The Judge . . . In A Lot Of Red-State Senate Races

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Miracle of miracles, the United States Senate earlier in the week did something that sounds out of place in this era of fractious politics. Quietly, with little fuss or fanfare, it confirmed two federal judicial nominations by unanimous vote.

John McCain
Analysis and Commentary

Can We Honor John McCain With The Dignity He Deserves?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, May 13, 2018

A funny thing about my job: every election cycle, I can count on at least one conservation with a political neophyte interested in the pursuit of elected office.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
Featured

Little Drama, But Odd Plots, In Calif. Race For Governor

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Thursday, May 10, 2018

This is the week things got serious in California. June primary absentee ballots (in California parlance, “vote by mail”) arrived in homes across the Golden State, just days after the official voter information guide. Though the actual vote isn’t for another four Tuesdays, political ads now flood the local airwaves.

Analysis and Commentary

If Not For The Scandals And Scattered Messaging, Trump Wouldn't Lack For Good News

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, May 5, 2018

On the same day as the Running of the Roses, why not a look at the horse race that is the Trump presidency?

Analysis and Commentary

The Seven E's Candidates For California Governor Must Address

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, May 3, 2018

When I was young boy and obsessed by all things sea power, I wondered why certain American warships had the letter “E” on their smokestacks or superstructures while others didn’t.

Analysis and Commentary

A Senate Trend That's Getting Old

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Thursday, April 26, 2018

The United States Senate has a problem that is complicating life in the “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” That would be: the age of its members.

Analysis and Commentary

Should Trump Consider More Dinner Diplomacy At Home -- And More Of Melania Abroad?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, April 26, 2018

It’s a different Washington – or so we learned this week.

Featured

Barbara Bush Is Gone -- As Are, Unfortunately, Some Bush-Era Traits

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, April 21, 2018

As America said goodbye to Barbara Bush this weekend, it seems appropriate to note some other characteristics of the politics of her life and times that are no longer with us.

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