Bill Whalen

Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Distinguished Policy Fellow in Journalism
Biography: 

Bill Whalen, the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Distinguished Policy 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 Forbes.com. 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

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Safer But Not Yet Safe

by John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Whalenvia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Friday, September 10, 2021

The approaching twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the American homeland is a time to remember the fallen and reflect on lessons learned from that terrible day, including America’s readiness for a similar event. Condoleezza Rice, the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution and President George W. Bush’s national security advisor at the time of the attacks, joins Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson and John Cochrane to relive the White House’s response that day and shares her concerns about US national security moving forward.

Analysis and Commentary

Opinion: Even If Newsom Wins, The Recall Shows How Far He Has Slipped

by Bill Whalenvia The Washington Post
Thursday, September 9, 2021
To understand California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) odyssey these past 18 months — from riding high in the polls to sliding toward extinction in next week’s recall election, before apparently steadying himself as voting began — look no further than San Francisco’s Millennium Tower, a 58-story structure that is slowly listing and sinking because its foundation rests on erosive sand and clay.
PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Recall’s Closing Argument

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Maybe a recent binge-watch is to blame, but l wonder: Why isn’t Reese Witherspoon campaigning for California governor Gavin Newsom, the subject of next week’s recall election here in the Golden State?

PoliticsFeatured

Is It Time For California To Rework Its Framework?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, September 1, 2021

You have to dig deep into this Atlantic piece on the California governor’s facing a possible voter recall to find the passage, but here’s what caught my eye: “If [Gavin Newsom] hangs on . . . he’ll consider changing the law in order to make recalls harder, and have the reform take effect for governors who succeed him.”

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: Who Calls Whom The President Calls Upon?

interview with Debra Saunders, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Monday, August 30, 2021

The behind-the-scenes choreography of the media's relationship with Biden.

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: Business (Hostility) As Usual?

interview with Lee Ohanian, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Thursday, August 26, 2021

The plight of California’s business climate and the Golden State’s gubernatorial recall election.

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Recall: The Conspiracy Edition

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, August 26, 2021

It wouldn’t be an election in America without conspiracy theories and gossipy chatter about a process and an outcome somehow being rigged, California’s September 14 recall vote proving to be no exception.

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: America After The Trump Presidency

interview with Victor Davis Hanson, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Trump’s presence in the political landscape and the prospects of “Trumpism” beliefs moving forward.

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Now Batting For The Governor?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Three things seem inescapable in the California of August 2021: COVID-19’s Delta variant; wildfires; and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren.

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: “The Slow Drift Back”

interview with Joseph Felter, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Monday, August 16, 2021

What went wrong in Afghanistan and the impact on US foreign policy.

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