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

Analysis and Commentary

Some Debate Questions I Wish The Candidates Would Address

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, July 28, 2019

Quantity isn’t a concern as far as this week’s Democratic presidential debates in Detroit are concerned.

EducationAnalysis and Commentary

From Top Gun To Culture Wars, California Doesn’t Lack For Sequels

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, July 25, 2019

Proof that there’s no escaping politics: New Jersey senator Cory Booker, one of two dozen Democrats seeking the presidency, crashing this weekend’s Comic-Con International festivities in San Diego; at the same festivities, actor Orlando Bloom and San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer getting into a he-said/he-said over immigration.

One of this year’s Comic-Con highlights was actor Tom Cruise’s surprise appearance, during which he showed footage of the Top Gun sequel he’s been filming in and around San Diego.

Featured

Can Trump Win The Popular Vote? It Requires A California-Texas Two-Step

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, July 25, 2019

Now that we’re past the relative dud that was Robert Mueller’s day of testimony, it’s evident that there’s but one tonic for what ails American politics: a presidential election with a clean outcome.

Analysis and Commentary

In Case You’ve Run Out Of Conspiracy Theories, Here’s A New One: Democratic Debates

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, July 21, 2019

It’s tempting to look at the line-ups for the upcoming two nights of Democratic presidential debates and ask (in addition to what else is airing on the nights of July 30 and 31): is the fix in?

CaliforniaAnalysis and Commentary

Why California Lawmakers Like To Raid The Climate-Change Cookie Jar

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, July 18, 2019

For a brief moment last week, there was an unlikely hero in Sacramento.

His name: Bob Wieckowski.

You’re forgiven if you’ve never heard the name before, especially if you don’t follow the inner workings of the California State Legislature or live in the immediate vicinity of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Interviews

Bill Whalen On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his California On Your Mind article "California Can’t Avoid The Next “Big One” Can It Weather The Political Aftershock?"

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On, Wisconsin!

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Democrats hope that picking their presidential nominee in Milwaukee will boost their chances in the Midwest. Convention magic, however, is fickle.

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Capital Punishment’s Dead End?

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

California’s politicians no longer even pretend to support the death penalty. Who does support it? California’s voters.

Analysis and Commentary

“A Simple Accident?” Perhaps, But Not A Political Sliding Door

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

In news not concerning presidential tweeting, we’re experiencing a wave of Camelot nostalgia courtesy of the 20th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s Jr.’s fatal plane crash (July 16 also being the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s lift-off and, more ominously, the 229th anniversary of a plot of land along the Potomac River being designated as the future seat of the federal government).

Analysis and Commentary

Would AOC Be A-OK With Trading In Congress For Cable?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, July 14, 2019

Political forecasting should go on hiatus – at least, as long as Donald Trump is on the ballot. With this candidate, so many calculations – turnout, what voters tell pollsters versus how they actually vote – don’t make for sound predictions.

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