Bill Whalen

Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Distinguished Policy Fellow in Journalism

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 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

IntroductionEurekaAnalysis and Commentary

A School Year Like No Other

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Thursday, June 24, 2021

In California, as elsewhere in America, school’s out for a majority of the summer months. And while California schools aren’t out forever, nor have they been blown to pieces (yes, we’re channeling our inner Alice Cooper), there’s the uncomfortable question of what happens when the next academic year commences in mid-August.


Must California Be Forced To Endure More Gubernatorial Task Forces?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

I don’t have a problem with California governor Gavin Newsom dropping by a Bakersfield health club, which he did last week as part of his celebrate-a-return-to-normal, California-reopening tour.

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: An Assault On Wealth

interview with David R. Henderson, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Sunday, June 20, 2021

Is a proposed “patriot” wealth tax on the accumulation of wealth in America an “assault” on high-profile billionaires or the early stage of a longer siege.


California’s Ongoing COVID “Emergency”: “L’état, C’est Gavin”

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, June 17, 2021

California is now officially “open” for business and leisure—translation: say goodbye to the Golden State’s stay-at-home order that dates back to March of last year plus a color-coded tier system that restricted activity based on countywide virus spread, even if it didn’t make complete sense (in what world is purple more dangerous than red?).

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Harris’s Vice Presidency: More Yucca Than Yuks

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, June 10, 2021

For several decades now, dating back to the latter days of the Reagan presidency, the good people of Nevada have fought the federal government over the latter’s proposed use of Yucca Mountain—a facility about 100 miles north of Las Vegas and not too far from Death Valley National Park and the California border—as a dumping ground for radioactive waste.


Bill Whalen On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Friday, June 4, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his California on Your Mind article "California’s Governor: The Monopoly Money Man."

Analysis and Commentary

With His Fortunes Improving, While Proposing Spending A Fortune, Newsom Wants To Speed Up The Recall

by Bill Whalenvia The Washington Post
Thursday, June 3, 2021

[Subscription Required] California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, has been splashing monetary promises across the state at a time when, it’s hard not to notice, he also faces the prospect of a recall vote.

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: Sweet Home Alabama

interview with Stephen Haber, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The building blocks for a futuristic American state.

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

California’s Governor: The Monopoly Money Man

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then California has paid Ohio a major compliment.

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GoodFellows: Glenn Loury: “A Man Of The West”

featuring John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, Glenn Loury, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia Fellow Talks
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Does elite thinking about the Black experience in America, as expressed via the teaching of critical race theory and the 1619 Project, benefit the descendants of slavery? Glenn Loury, a Hoover Institution distinguished visiting fellow and Brown University economist who writes frequently on racial inequality, joins Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane to discuss the historical and economic arcs of race in America.