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

Will Smith College Finally Warm To Barbara Bush?

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Friday, April 20, 2018

While the nation mourns the passing of former first lady Barbara Bush, the question is: Will there be any mention of her at next month’s commencement ceremony at Smith College?

Analysis and Commentary

A Suggestion For Gov. Jerry Brown’s Next Job: West Coast Emissary In Washington

by Bill Whalenvia The Sacremento Bee
Thursday, April 19, 2018

He’s not the founding father with the hit musical. Unlike his longtime political rival, John Adams, he’s never been lionized in an HBO miniseries. Still Thomas Jefferson, whose 275th birthday came and went last week with little fanfare other than a statue being vandalized, might be pleased that the nation is looking his way.


They Say That Breaking Up Is Hard To Do -- Unless It's Breaking California Into More Than Two

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan signing the nation’s first no-fault divorce law.

Analysis and Commentary

Impeachment's Not Off The Table, Even If The Numbers Don't Add Up

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, April 9, 2018

If you’re keeping score at home, circle Wednesday, May 9, on your calendar as a big day in the life of the Trump presidency. Why that date? Because it was on the second Wednesday in May, back in 2006, that Nancy Pelosi told her fellow Democrats to ixnay talk of impeaching an unpopular Republican president.

Analysis and Commentary

While Pelosi Stars In Republican Ads, Does Fate Have Another Plan For Her?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, April 5, 2018
If you happen to live in a congressional swing district – one where a Republican incumbent is on the hot griddle – and don’t like the mien of Nancy Pelosi, then I have some bad news: you could be seeing a lot more of her the closer we get to Election Day.
Analysis and Commentary

Schwarzenegger Goes Off Course On His Latest Quest

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, March 29, 2018

I don’t have a problem with Arnold Schwarzenegger adding Don Quixote to his assortment of action heroes. So be it if the ex-governor wants to tilt at windmills. When he’s not talking about suing oil companies for contributing to global warming (“first-degree murder”), he wants to cure the California GOP of its conservative bent.


Who's Buried In Grant's Tomb? Republican Fiscal Discipline

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, March 25, 2018

To the old maxim that a conservative is a liberal mugged by reality, should we count President Trump as a Washington crime statistic?

Analysis and Commentary

To Regain The House, Democrats Will Need A Few Breaks -- And The Loudness Of More Lambs

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, March 17, 2018

Newt Gingrich is deeply, deeply concerned. The former House Speaker and big political thinker believes it’s time for a wake-call in the White House. Otherwise he fears, the Trump Administration will be dealing with (translation: being investigated to death by) a Democratic-controlled House a year from now.


This Is Why President Trump Will Come Back To California

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, March 15, 2018

So how did President Donald Trump fare on this week’s visit to California, his first since taking office nearly 14 months ago? Better than Gerald Ford, who twice was targeted for assassination when he visited the Golden State in 1975.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump's Late In Getting To California, But He May Be A Step Ahead In Setting Up For 2020

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, March 11, 2018

When Donald Trump touches down in California on Tuesday, for the time as America’s 45th President, the question will be: is Trump politically ahead or behind the curve?