Bill Whalen

Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism
Biography: 

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 Forbes.com. 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

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

You Can’t Travel In Basketball, But California Governors Should—Without Giving Up Power

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, February 28, 2019

While the big California news this past weekend was the 91st annual Academy Awards, a different kind of history occurred in the northern part of America’s nation-state.

Interviews

Bill Whalen: An Elite Academic Poll Rates Donald Trump "Lucky" And Nothing Else & What Is To Be Done?

with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his Forbes article "What Does "Luck" Have To Do With Trump? Everything, If You Poll Presidential Scholars."

Analysis and Commentary

What Does "Luck" Have To Do With Trump? Everything, If You Poll Presidential Scholars

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, February 23, 2019

For fans of political bar debates, I give you this latest ranking of the American presidents courtesy of the Siena College Research Institute. The top five comes as no surprise – George Washington, followed by Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson (those five have stood atop the White House pyramid since Siena first began this exercise in 1982, coinciding with the second year of a new presidency).

Featured

Once-Berned, Will Democrats Be Twice Shy?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, February 21, 2019
If you missed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ announcement the last time he sought the presidency, you’re forgiven. It came in the early hours of the last day of April 2015 – Sanders sending an email to supporters and reporters announcing he was in.
PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Hasta la Vista, Junípero Serra—and Ronald Reagan?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, February 21, 2019

The big news in Sacramento last week was California governor Gavin Newsom’s driving a stake through the heart of the Golden State’s troubled high-speed rail projectWell, not exactly . . .

In the News

Bernie Sanders And Democrats' Age Problem

quoting Bill Whalenvia Axios
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
By the numbers: Sen. Bernie Sanders, 77 (five years older than President Trump, a spry 72), jumped into the race yesterday. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 69, was one of this cycle's first to announce. For some in the party, former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, is the savior.
Interviews

Bill Whalen: Have The Stars Fallen From The Eyes Of Bernie Bros?

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his Forbes article "The Grass Is Always Greener -- Unless You're Pandering For Votes."

Analysis and Commentary

The Grass Is Always Greener -- Unless You're Pandering For Votes

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, February 16, 2019

Sometimes, the best laid plans of scribes and men go awry – this column being a good example. I was prepared to have some fun at the expense of New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a vegan and Democratic presidential hopeful who believes that animal agriculture is unsustainable.

In the News

Newsom Is Right To Scale Back The Bullet Train, And It’s Good Politics Too

quoting Bill Whalenvia Los Angeles Times
Thursday, February 14, 2019
If anyone thought that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration would merely be an extension of fellow Democrat Jerry Brown’s, that notion has been completely obliterated.
PoliticsFeatured

Where’s The Love—For Pelosi, AOC, And California Aerospace?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, February 14, 2019

This being Valentine’s Day, I’m guessing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t sending much affection Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s way—even if Pelosi did applaud in her direction (at President Trump’s expense) during last week’s State of the Union Address.

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