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.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

What's Howard Schultz Brewing Up -- And Why Don't Democrats Like It?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, January 27, 2019

How far can former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz go as an independent presidential candidate, now that he’s told the world that he’s seriously weighing such a run? Look no further than the Sunday edition of The Drudge Report.

Blank Section (Placeholder)

Lost in Space

by Bill Whalenvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 25, 2019

Former governor Jerry Brown shot for the stars. He should have aimed for Market Street.


Can Kamala Harris Overcome Democrats’ California Curse?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Friday, January 25, 2019
California may be America’s most defiantly Democratic state, but the land hasn’t been kind to the party’s national hopefuls.

Mining For Some Improvements To California’s Government

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, January 24, 2019

On this date, 171 years ago, California took the first step from unexplored territory to economic colossus with the discovery of gold in the tailrace (still visible today) of a sawmill in present-day Coloma, about an hour’s drive northeast from Sacramento.

Analysis and Commentary

Kamala Harris Runs -- Straight Along The Chisholm Trail

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Monday, January 21, 2019

Given that she’s been running for president seemingly since first arriving in the nation’s capital two years ago, California Sen. Kamala Harris’ announcement this morning that she plans to enter what’s fast becoming a crowded Democratic field doesn’t qualify as “breaking news”.

Analysis and Commentary

Gillibrand's Presidential Run: Built For Distance, Or Over In A New York Minute?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Friday, January 18, 2019

Some definitions to update in America’s political dictionary: Under “persistence”, let’s add a passage about former Vice President Joe Biden. Assuming he’s running, that would be three presidential campaigns (1988, 2008 and 2020) some three decades apart, which has to be a record for a candidate not named Harold Stassen.

EducationAnalysis and Commentary

Los Angeles Teachers’ Strike: Why Isn’t The City’s Mayor Calling Balls And Strikes?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, January 17, 2019

With all due respect to the gridlock back in the nation’s capital, there’s a far more compelling government impasse afoot.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Beto O'Rourke Running For President Or Brand Ambassador?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, January 13, 2019

Considering that debate season commences in just five months (Democrats are looking at a dozen group encounters in the 2019-2020 cycle, starting in June, as opposed to the mere six that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agreed to), it’s no surprise that presidential candidates are crawling out of the woodwork.

Analysis and Commentary

Gov. Newsom Could Run For President. Is It A Question Of If Or When?

by Bill Whalenvia Sacramento Bee
Friday, January 11, 2019

Years ago, I treated my sister and her husband to an evening with Siegfried & Roy. As it was their first time in Sin City, it seemed like the “Vegas” thing to do. And, I figured, they might not get a second chance to see the act. Not long after their visit, Roy Horn nearly died after being dragged offstage by one of the big cats.


California Gets A New Governor—And A Voyage Into Expensive Progressive Waters

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, January 10, 2019

We’re only four days into a new administration, and I’ll admit that I’m struggling to put California’s fortieth governor in historical context.