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

Three Cheers for the Electoral College

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Does the outcome four years ago—and the outside chance that the pattern could repeat itself this fall—merit a change to the Constitution?

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Four More Years?

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 30, 2004

Why this fall’s election will be George W. Bush’s to lose. By Hoover fellow Bill Whalen.

Analysis and Commentary

Future Recalls Require Further Reform

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, November 10, 2003

If recall does go national, it should reflect populist sentiment, not partisan desires.

Simon Says

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, July 30, 2002

If Bill Simon wants to win the California governor’s race this November, he can start by reading this. By Hoover fellow Bill Whalen.

The GOP's California Blues

by Bill Whalenvia Policy Review
Friday, February 1, 2002

Losing elections in the land of Reagan

The Return of the Bully Pulpit

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

In George W. Bush’s White House, might we actually have a president who means what he says? By Hoover fellow Bill Whalen.

Analysis and Commentary

Releasing the “Confirmation Hostages”

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, November 19, 2001

By giving nominees full and immediate authority, a new administration could hit the ground running instead of being at the Senate's mercy for an indefinite amount of time.

Where Have All the Governors Gone?

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2001

You won’t find many calls for bold reform from today’s state capitals, where complacency, risk-aversion, and cutting big checks seem to be the order of the day. By Hoover fellow Bill Whalen.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Initiative?

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, July 30, 2000

This November, citizens in California and 23 other states will vote on dozens of ballot initiatives. Although ballot initiatives are often maligned in the press and the academy alike, Hoover fellow Bill Whalen stands up for them, arguing that they allow voters to speak out on issues about which elected officials will only whisper.