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

Analysis and Commentary

Five Things to Watch in California in 2010

by Bill Whalenvia Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal
Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009 is coming to a close – mercifully, it would seem, for California’s ruling class. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Your Stimulus Dollar$ at Work

by Bill Whalenvia Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Here’s proof that sometimes there’s no escaping Washington, no matter how far off the beaten path one travels. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Dems down in dumps should invest in John Doerr

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, November 1, 2009

If Monty Hall were still hosting "Let's Make a Deal" and wanted to meddle in a California's governor's race, now is the time he'd ask Democrats if they wanted to keep what they already have or go for what's behind Door No. 2...

How Governor Schwarzenegger of California lost a rich opportunity


by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 9, 2009

How Governor Schwarzenegger of California lost a rich opportunity. By Bill Whalen.

Analysis and Commentary

Crime Makes a Comeback in California Politics

by Bill Whalenvia Wall Street Journal
Saturday, September 12, 2009

There are so many politicians running for office in California with Silicon Valley roots that a Sacramento Bee reporter says next year could be the valley's political "coming out party."...

Analysis and Commentary

It's time California got over itself

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, August 9, 2009

Way to go, California...

Analysis and Commentary

What If Arnold Had Seized the Moment?

by Bill Whalenvia Wall Street Journal
Saturday, May 23, 2009

While politicians debate whether this week's rejection of various spending initiatives in California marks the beginning of an antitax insurgency, I can't help but wonder what might have been had Arnold Schwarzenegger immediately pushed for reform upon taking office in 2003...

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...