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


Bill Whalen: Elizabeth Warren Vs Joe Biden & Bernie Sanders At The Early Debates

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Friday, May 10, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his Forbes article "She Dominates The Democrats' Issues Debate, But When Does Warren Have Her "Moment"?"

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

The Two California Democrats Running For President: Evidence That Not All Campaigns Are Created Equally

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, May 9, 2019

What to make of last week’s report that New York City mayor Bill de Blasio soon will enter the Democratic presidential field?

Analysis and Commentary

She Dominates The Democrats' Issues Debate, But When Does Warren Have Her "Moment"?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, May 6, 2019

Monday’s Hill HarrisX poll contains banner news for former Vice President Joe Biden: a 32-point lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it’s the second tier of Democrats that merits a closer look.

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

What May And May Not Be In California, Now That The Calendar’s Turned To May

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, May 2, 2019

As far as California state government is concerned, think of the next couple of the weeks in the Sacramento as the quiet before the storm—that disturbance coming when Governor Gavin Newsom announces the “May revise” to his January budget proposal, based on April’s revenue flow.

Analysis and Commentary

Pod Help Us All: The Downloadable Clintons

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Believe it or not, there was other political news this week that didn’t involve rocks thrown in Caracas – or in Bill Barr’s direction.

IntroductionEurekaAnalysis and Commentary

The Road (And Rail And Reservoirs) Ahead: Can California Be Innovative—And Sensible?

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A quick look around the nation shows states making clever, necessary transportation improvements—even if the progress doesn’t occur overnight.

Analysis and Commentary

Twenty-Plus Democrats Running For President, Or Joe Biden Running Against . . . Joe Biden?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Friday, April 26, 2019

One wise thing about Joe Biden waiting until late in the week to announce his presidential plans: he gets to dominate the political discourse over the weekend, as he has the past couple of days since he dropped his video.

EnvironmentAnalysis and Commentary

Earth (Day) To Governor Newsom: Why Didn’t You Ban Fracking?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, April 25, 2019

Some Californians give Earth Day a symbolic nod—picking up litter on a beach, riding a bicycle to work to spare the air.

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Newsom Laces Up His Shoes

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

California’s new governor is chasing a national profile. By taking the lead on immigration, he could earn attention and praise—or fail miserably.


Bill Whalen: Will Bernie Sanders Shop At Sam's Club, Attend A Megachurch And Drive An SUV?

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his Forbes article "Now That Bernie Has Discovered Fox News, Will He Further Explore Red-State America?"