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

In the News

Nothing Special About That Election

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

To borrow a line from Enid Strict, aka Dana Carvey's Church Lady: "well, isn't that special?"...

In the News

Bada Bing!

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The news out of Detroit: NBA legend Dave Bing was the surprise winner in last night's special mayoral election...

In the News

Another Side of Jack Kemp

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, May 4, 2009

There have been three constants to the remembrances of conservative icon Jack Kemp, who passed away this weekend...

In the News

I Feel a Draft

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, April 27, 2009

The Chronicle is reporting this morning that the good people at Time Magazine has it wrong -- contrary to what they wrote, Gavin Newsom was not drafted to play professional baeball by the Texas Rangers (yes, the franchise once co-owned by George W. Bush)...

In the News

Newsom, Campbell and the Viral Effect

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Credit Gavin Newsom with a creative formal "announcement" that he's running for governor...

In the News

Prop 1A: A Tale of Two Cities

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, April 16, 2009

Want a closer look at California's political divide -- that is, the divide within the political chattering class and the May 19 special election?...

In the News

You Can't Spell "Tea" Without a "D" and a "C"

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let me see if I have this right...

In the News

Will Arnold Be the Star of This Show?

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, April 13, 2009

The phone call came innocently enough early one morning last week -- no warning, and no identification other than my caller i.d. informing me that it was "000-000-0000" on the line...

In the News

Bear Necessity?

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This summer marks six years since Arnold Schwarzenegger shocked the world and jumped into the recall election...

Analysis and Commentary

Advice for California's GOP candidates for governor

by Bill Whalenvia Los Angeles Times
Monday, April 6, 2009

Meg Whitman struck it rich last month when she appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine, with a headline that asked if the Republican gubernatorial hopeful can "save California."...