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 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

Featured

Can Kamala Harris Leave California Behind?

by Bill Whalenvia Real Clear Politics
Friday, August 14, 2020

Back when California was a swing state, it was commonplace to have a Golden Stater on the national ticket. Not that it made all that much difference. Dwight Eisenhower would have won twice regardless of his running mate, but it’s a matter of record that he ran with Richard Nixon, the pride of Yorba Linda. Later, Nixon would win two terms, carrying his home state twice, as did transplanted Californian Ronald Reagan.

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When Will California’s Government Address Not Just Intake, But Its Integrity?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In a time otherwise dominated by pandemic-related news and events, this recent tweet by California governor Gavin Newsom caught my attention: “Our. System. Is. Broken.”

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GoodFellows: Tik Tok Pot Luck

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia Hoover Podcasts
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

AUDIO ONLY

This week, a special “potluck” edition of GoodFellows has Hoover Institution senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane serving up a spirited debate over the bureaucratic pandemic bungling and whether the social network TikTok is a data-mining threat to national security, plus thoughts on the addition of California senator Kamala Harris to the Democratic ticket.

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TikTok Pot Luck

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

This week, a special “potluck” edition of GoodFellows has Hoover Institution senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane serving up a spirited debate over the bureaucratic pandemic bungling and whether the social network TikTok is a data-mining threat to national security, plus thoughts on the addition of California senator Kamala Harris to the Democratic ticket.

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

A Year Later, California Burns—But Does It Still “Feel The Bern”?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, August 6, 2020

To the notion that things can change in a hurry, consider what defined California hardship a year ago at this time.

Interviews

Bill Whalen On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his Hoover Digest article "Newsom the Rainmaker."

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The Importance Of Institutions In A Time Of Crisis

interview with John H. Cochrane, H. R. McMaster, Yuval Levin, Bill Whalenvia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Even pre-pandemic, America was experiencing a crisis in institutional confidence (with the noted exception of the military)—a lack of public trust in government, business, education, media, and faith organizations. Yuval Levin, a social and cultural scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, joins Hoover senior fellows and GoodFellows regulars John Cochrane and H. R. McMaster to discuss where America went astray and how the nation can rebuild from the grass roots up.

Newsom the Rainmaker

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

California needs federal aid; Washington needs California to bounce back fast. That’s why President Trump and Governor Newsom are playing nice—at least for now.

Analysis and CommentaryPolitics

Will The Biden Ticket Include A Serving Of Rice?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, July 30, 2020

This Saturday, the first day of the new month, was possibly the moment to expect the big reveal of Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick (Saturdays tend to be slow news day, but big breaking news can easily drive the Sunday television talk circuit).

PoliticsFeatured

California Attorney Generals Taking The Initiative . . . To Skew The Initiative Process

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

One way to understand the sometimes baffling enterprise that is California’s initiative process: “the more things change, the more they remain the same.”

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