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 writes on politics and current events for His commentary can also be seen on the opinion pages of the The Washington Post and Real Clear Politics, as well as Hoover’s “California On Your Mind” web channel.

Whalen hosts Hoover’s “Area 45” podcast on politics and policy in the age of the Trump presidency and he serves as one of the moderators of Hoover’s “GoodFellows” broadcast on the social, economic and geopolitical consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

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 and Lars Larson.

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.

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

Can Bush lighten up and smile a little bit? All work, no play make George dull

by Bill Whalenvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, May 7, 2006

f there's an unintended consequence of lousy poll numbers, as President Bush is fast discovering, it's that sagging fortunes beget plenty of unsolicited advice, in this instance, how to put President Humpty Dumpty back together…

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What Happened to Arnold?

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 30, 2006

Can Arnold Schwarzenegger recover from his special-election train wreck? What the Governator must do to get back on track. By Bill Whalen.

Analysis and Commentary

Primary Reform

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Such reform is long overdue and worthy of serious consideration by both major parties.

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How He Did It

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2005

How George W. Bush won—and what his opponents must do to regroup. By Bill Whalen.

Analysis and Commentary

A Bow to Fiscal Conservatism

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, December 15, 2004

With Washington drowning in a sea of red ink, the timing is right to restore line-item authority.

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