Bill Whalen

Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism
Biography: 

Bill Whalen, the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism and 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

California PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Oh Say Can You Reform CEQA? Not On Jerry Brown’s Watch

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, September 20, 2018

After spending more time online researching than I care to admit, I’m ready to admit defeat: I still don’t know if California Governor Jerry Brown is a sportsman.

Analysis and Commentary

With The Brett Kavanaugh Circus, The Judicial Confirmation Process Sinks Even Lower

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I don’t know precisely what impact the Brett Kavanaugh nomination fight will have on the eventual outcome of California’s U.S. Senate race on Nov. 6.

California PoliticsFeatured

Is California A Nation-State Lost In Space?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, September 16, 2018

For a governor who denies that he has any interest in discussing his legacy, Jerry Brown has a funny way of coming full circle.

California PoliticsFeatured

Will Corporate California Go The Way Of Quotas?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, September 13, 2018

In the spirit of the adage “let’s keep politics out of the bedroom,” what about California’s government intervening in the boardroom?

Featured

How Far Have We Come Since 9/11? Only A Short Walk Across Flushing Meadows

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

I offer you two views of the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America.

Featured

Will 2018 Be Another Watershed Election For California?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, September 6, 2018

We think of politics in two- and four-year election cycles. But in California, those aren’t the only numbers worth remembering.

California PoliticsFeatured

Will Corporate California Go The Way Of Quotas?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, September 6, 2018

To the adage “let’s keep politics out of the bedroom,” what about California’s government intervening in the boardroom?

John McCain
Analysis and Commentary

Some Caution, Please, Before We Go Too Far With McCain Tributes

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, September 1, 2018

On Sunday, John McCain will be laid to rest in a private ceremony on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, his cherished alma mater. On Monday, we’ll begin the debate over how to properly honor the storied naval aviator/prisoner-of-war, also known to the nation as a 36-year veteran of Capitol Hill and two-time presidential candidate.

CaliforniaAnalysis and Commentary

The Blue Wave Rules In California—Even When Choosing A State Sport

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Rest assured that California’s state legislature is on the job and hard at work, settling such thorny matters as . . . deciding which athletic endeavor to designate as California’s “state sport.”

Analysis and Commentary

If Bill Clinton Had Taken The High Road, Would The Road Be Different For Trump And Republicans?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, August 25, 2018

Some dates are etched in the American landscape: December 7, November 22, September 11, July 4. Still other events beg the question of “what if.” Does JFK survive his visit to Dallas if the bubble-top stays atop the presidential limo? Do the final chapters of the Cold War play out the same if Ronald Reagan doesn’t recover from an assassination attempt?

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