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

Why Does President Trump Balk At Attending Baseball Games?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, July 15, 2018
As the World Cup finale plays in my living room, it’s seems like the right time to reflect on “America’s pastime” – baseball – and its curious standing these days.
Analysis and Commentary

America's Government -- Hooked Up To An Ivy Drip?

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, July 14, 2018

Here’s hoping that someone turned on a recorder when President Trump met with his Supreme Court finalists, for I’m guessing that in at least three instances the conversation went something like the Princeton interview scene in “Risky Business.”


Sen. Kamala Harris Gets A Big Gift With Supreme Court Fight

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Under the heading “better to be lucky than good,” I give you Sen. Kamala Harris. She doesn’t have much of a record in her two years in Washington, D.C., other than saying yes to appearances in early-primary states and – when she’s not being rudely interrupted by exasperated Republicans in Intelligence Committee hearings – welcoming comparisons to Barack Obama as the Democratic Party’s telegenic, multicultural future.


Trump Once Again Takes His Talents -- And Another Supreme Court Pick -- To Primetime

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, July 8, 2018

LeBron James is no fan of Donald Trump. In 2016, the NBA great campaigned for Hillary Clinton in his native Ohio. Since then, he’s voiced solidarity with athletes who’ve turned down White House visits and has trash-tweeted the President (that includes this “U bum” missive from September of last year).

The Statue of Liberty.

Abolish Ice? Democrats Ignore The Republicans' Obamacare Lesson

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, July 5, 2018

In this age of instant and Instagram-fueled heroes and martyrs, what do we make of Therese Patricia Okoumou? In case you weren’t paying attention yesterday, she’s the 44-year-old Staten Island resident (born and educated in the Republic of the Congo) who engaged in a very public protest, at a very iconic landmark, on America’s 242nd birthday.

California flag

A California Budget That Reflects Plenty Of Dollars -- But Less Sense

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, June 30, 2018

Not too long ago, one of the unwritten rules of California politics dictated: state budget negotiations don’t heat up until the temperature in Sacramento reaches triple digits. Sure enough, the mercury reached 101 in the California’s capital on Friday, June 22.


Tired Of Roseanne Barr And Maxine Waters? America Needs A Two-Month Timeout From Political Battles

by Bill Whalenvia The Sacramento Bee
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Save for fashion, cuisine and dating guidelines (no partner younger than half one’s age, plus seven years), it’s not often that America is in the business of mimicking the French.
Analysis and Commentary

A Trump Detour To Charleston Might Provide Some Relief To This Political Heat Wave

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, June 24, 2018

In a summer where the nation’s indecency index may surpass that of heat and humidity, here’s a noble thing for President Trump to do when he visits South Carolina on Monday: instead of the scheduled campaign stop in West Columbia to campaign on behalf of Gov. Henry McMaster, detour to Charleston’s Medical University Hospital.


Does Gavin Newsom Represent A Shift In California Democratic Party?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, June 14, 2018

As we face summer reruns on TV, is California's gubernatorial race destined to be a playback of the first of Jerry Brown's four triumphs 44 years ago?

Analysis and Commentary

One Smart Alec, One Crowded Democratic Field

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

In other news not having to do with two McDonalds-lovers summiting in Singapore or a Russian frolicking in the streets of Washington (hockey player Alex Ovechkin, not Vladimir Putin), there’s the report that the actor Alec Baldwin likes his chances against President Trump in a 2020 matchup.