Bill Whalen

Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Distinguished Policy Fellow in Journalism
Biography: 

Bill Whalen, the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Distinguished Policy 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 writes on politics and current events for Forbes.com. His commentary can also be seen on the opinion pages of the The Washington Post and Real Clear Politics, as well as Hoover’s “California On Your Mind” web channel.

Whalen hosts Hoover’s “Area 45” podcast on politics and policy in the age of the Trump presidency and he serves as one of the moderators of Hoover’s “GoodFellows” broadcast on the social, economic and geopolitical consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

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 and Lars Larson.

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.

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

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: What May Come From The “May Revise”

interview with Lee Ohanian, Bill Whalen, Jonathan Movroydisvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Thursday, May 12, 2022

The latest in the Golden State, including what if any progress will be achieved on homelessness, a worsening drought, and California’ stuck-in-a-rut high-speed rail project.

PoliticsFeatured

Revamping California’s Government: My Two Cents . . . My Two Dollars

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, May 12, 2022

Two pieces of Sacramento-posted mail showed up at my home late last week—each a reminder of the Golden State’s shortcomings.

Featured

Why Twitter Could Start Winging Its Way To Texas

by Bill Whalenvia The Washington Post
Monday, May 9, 2022

The day after news broke that Twitter had accepted Elon Musk’s purchase offer, California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, happened to be holding a Zoom call with supporters to discuss how to “keep California blue in 2022.” The topic was a curious one, given that since 2000, Democrats have won 47 of the past 48 statewide races here not involving Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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GoodFellows: “Ukraine Is Going To End Up Winning”

interview with John H. Cochrane, H. R. McMaster, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, Bill Whalenvia Fellow Talks
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

As the war in Ukraine passes the 70-day mark, questions abound as to whether Russia will soon escalate the brutality, how far Ukrainian forces intend to take the fight, plus the West’s long-term appetite for supplying arms and aid. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former commanding general, US Army Europe, joins Hoover senior fellows H. R. McMaster and John Cochrane to discuss what to expect next in Eastern Europe’s war zone.

EnvironmentFeatured

An Energy-Shy California Explores Its Nuclear Option

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

This is a cautionary tale of two heads of state looking at uncomfortable scenarios that involve a “nuclear option.”

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Hoover Book Club: Shiran Victoria Shen On The Political Regulation Wave

interview with Shiran Victoria Shen, Bill Whalenvia Fellow Talks
Thursday, April 28, 2022

A discussion with Shiran Victoria Shen on her latest book, The Political Regulation Wave moderated by Bill Whalen on Thursday, April 28 at 10AM PT/1:00PM ET.

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: Exit Sussexes, Enter AOC?

interview with Lee Ohanian, Bill Whalen, Jonathan Movroydisvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Thursday, April 28, 2022

The latest in the Golden State, including forthcoming water restrictions in the Southland and Sacramento’s sudden complacency regarding gasoline prices.

The StateAnalysis and Commentary

Calexodus Meets Megxit?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, April 28, 2022

As circumstance would have it, I was in Scottsdale, Arizona, last week for a two-day Hoover Institution retreat (hardship duty, I know, but someone has to do it).

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GoodFellows: More Cowbell: BYOT (Bring Your Own Topic)

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia Fellow Talks
Wednesday, April 27, 2022

A “potluck” edition of GoodFellows this time around, with Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane “bringing their own” topics for group discussion. These include an examination of an anticipated tank battle in Ukraine’s Donbas that’s yet to materialize, China’s disastrous “zero COVID” policy, what a post-Ukraine economic and military order might resemble, plus Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s takedown of Disney and university faculty in the Sunshine State.

PoliticsFeatured

Crime And (Incumbent) Punishment In California?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, April 20, 2022

One frustration with statewide elections in California: the predictability of it all.

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