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

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Trump, California—And Kipling: Will Ever The Twain Meet?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, September 26, 2019

A  funny thing happens in my world when President Trump makes a trip to California, which he did last week.

Featured

Why Not Censure The President And Move On?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, September 26, 2019

A sad aspect of the Trump Ukraine controversy: the dearth of members of Congress looking for a middle-ground solution that spares America the ordeal of an impeachment process that may turn out to be a political cul-de-sac.

Featured

Warren’s Challenge Now That She’s Ahead In Iowa: Staying Off The Dean’s List

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, September 22, 2019

The stellar news for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren: this Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa poll that has her leading in the Hawkeye State for the first time (at 22%, she holds a two-point advantage over former Vice President Joe Biden and an 11-point lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders).

Featured

Why Not A Presidential Debate In California?

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Friday, September 20, 2019

Unless the mother of all earthquakes strikes and the largest of the West Coast states tumbles into the sea (Steely Dan said it would happen, but it hasn’t), California is not an island.

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Why Not A Presidential Debate In California?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Unless the mother of all earthquakes strikes and the largest of the West Coast states tumbles into the sea (Steely Dan said it would happen, but it hasn’t), California is not an island.

Interviews

“Forgetting What You Said Two Minutes Ago?” -- Bill Whalen On Biden And Harris

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his Forbes article "Democrats Learn The Hard Way: Not All Biden Attacks Cut The Same."

Analysis and Commentary

Democrats Learn The Hard Way: Not All Biden Attacks Cut The Same

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, September 15, 2019

In politics, there are three directions to punch – upward (at someone ahead in the polls), downward (at someone trailing) and straight across (at a peer occupying the same space).

Featured

Houston, They Have A Problem

by Bill Whalen mentioning Condoleezza Ricevia Forbes
Friday, September 13, 2019

About that headline: it’s a variation of a line from the 1995 film Apollo 13 (astronaut Jim Lovell, played by Tom Hanks, informing NASA’s mission control about his crippled spacecraft: “Houston, we have a problem”). In real life, those words weren’t uttered.

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

The California Legislature’s Approach To #MeToo: Better You Than Us

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, September 12, 2019

Come the time President Trump faces the electorate next year, he’ll have some explaining to do for promises unmet—for openers, not cancelling all funding of “sanctuary” cities, not pushing for congressional term limits, not bringing back waterboarding.

John F. Kennedy
Interviews

Bill Whalen: The Kennedy Clan Returns To The Hunt For The Senate And Beyond

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses Forbes article "The Torch Has Been Passed . . . But Can A Fourth Generation Of Aspiring Kennedys Run With It?"

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