Bill Whalen

Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism

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 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


The Lars Larson Show: Bill Whalen Tells All

interview with Bill Whalenvia The Lars Larson Show
Friday, March 22, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses California laws as well as legalizing, unionizing, and taxing different types of work.

In the News

Trouble With A “T”? “Newsom's Unwelcome Stirring Of Democrats' 2020 Pot,” By Hoover Institituion's Bill Whalen For Realclear Politics

quoting Bill Whalenvia Politico
Friday, March 22, 2019
“To understand Gavin Newsom is to appreciate what it is to be a connected, metrosexual, forever-in-search-of-enlightenment son of the San Francisco Bay Area – stylistically and intellectually. … Now that Newson is governor, he can export that worldview beyond California’s boundaries. That could spell trouble come the time Democrats have to sell a more moderate persona in America’s swing states.”
Analysis and Commentary

Bang The Drum Slowly -- And Loudly -- To Anger The Base

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Friday, March 22, 2019

Let’s play connect the dots: packing the U.S. Supreme Court . . . lowering the federal voting age to 16 . . . abolishing the Electoral College . . . maybe even changing the rules of the U.S. Senate. Ways to make Americans more engaged and more confident in their government?


Bill Whalen: The Unknowns And Unpredictables Of The Beto O'Rourke Candidacy

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his Forbes article The Stronger Sell: The First Beto Or The Second Bobby?

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

How To Take Initiative In California? Go To The Ballot, With An Initiative

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Around the nation, as duly noted in this story that ran last weekend in The Hill, Republican state lawmakers are pushing back against the initiative system.

Analysis and Commentary

Newsom's Unwelcome Stirring Of Democrats' 2020 Pot

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Quicker than you can sing “Oops! I Did It Again,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom has interjected himself into national Democratic politics with his moratorium on capital punishment in America’s nation-state.

Analysis and Commentary

The Stronger Sell: The First Beto Or The Second Bobby?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, March 16, 2019

Would you buy a ticket to a concert that had Paul David Hewson, Gordon Sumner and Stefani Germanotta as its headline acts? Probably not. But you might be willing to pay top-dollar if you knew them by their stage names: Bono, Sting and Lady Gaga.

Analysis and Commentary

Newsom’s Cheap Shot Beneath The Dignity Of Governor’s Office

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Thursday, March 14, 2019
A few months after he had won the 2003 recall election, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked to give a speech at the Hoover Institution’s annual dinner on Stanford University’s old quad.

For California Lawmakers, Why One Police Shooting Should Trigger More Than A Question Of Excessive Force

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, March 14, 2019

For nearly two weeks now, Sacramento has been consumed by an individual who doesn’t hold office and never will.


Bill Whalen: On The Road To Baku: Run, Joe, Run?

interview with Bill Whalenvia John Batchelor Show
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses whether Joe Biden will run for president.