Bill Whalen

Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Distinguished Policy Fellow in Journalism
Biography: 

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 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

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: Trump’s Facebook Time-Out

interview with John Yoo, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Friday, May 7, 2021

The constitutionality of Facebook's and Twitter’s Trump temporary and permanent bans and whether the platforms will continue to enjoy federal legal protection.

PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Once Again, California Battles Census and Sensibility

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, May 6, 2021

The debate over California’s popular migration goes something like this: one side decries a mass exodus while the other claims any such Golden State emigration is vastly overstated; San Francisco is held up as a case-in-point of a population loss that began last year, which in turn is dismissed as a temporary occurrence—the rebuttal stating that folks are returning to the crown jewel of the Bay Area as society gradually reopens.

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GoodFellows: Doom Day!

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia Fellow Talks
Wednesday, May 5, 2021

As it turns out, COVID-19 isn’t the first catastrophic event to plague mankind. Or so Niall Ferguson, the Hoover Institution’s Milbank Family Senior Fellow, reminds us in his new book Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe, a historical look at past disasters and their aftermaths. The author joins Hoover senior fellows H. R. McMaster and John Cochrane to discuss why it is that we still struggle with disaster response and how to better prepare for future calamities.

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Doom Day!

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Tuesday, May 4, 2021

As it turns out, COVID-19 isn’t the first catastrophic event to plague mankind. Or so Niall Ferguson, the Hoover Institution’s Milbank Family Senior Fellow, reminds us in his new book Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe, a historical look at past disasters and their aftermaths. The author joins Hoover senior fellows H. R. McMaster and John Cochrane to discuss why it is that we still struggle with disaster response and how to better prepare for future calamities.

PoliticsFeatured

Will California Recalls Result In Changes To The Process?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Thursday, April 29, 2021

Tempting though it may be, this column won’t be about Caitlyn Jenner’s curious run for governor of California —the former Olympic decathlete and Kardashian patriarch turned transgender activist having formalized her candidacy late last week.

Featured

Why A California Recall Is Unlikely To Draw Schwarzenegger-Level Star Power

by Bill Whalenvia The Washington Post
Friday, April 23, 2021

With the Kardashian-adjacent Caitlyn Jenner announcing on Friday her intention to run for governor of California if a recall election is held in the fall, I have a question for Matthew McConaughey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Given that both reportedly are mulling runs for elected office — the former, for governor of Texas; the latter, the presidency — I must ask: Is this how you repay California?

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GoodFellows: A New Chill in the Classroom

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Steven Pinker, Bill Whalenvia Fellow Talks
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

What to make of elite universities with scant conservative representation in their faculty ranks; mankind’s tendency to dwell on the negative; plus the question of whether this is indeed the best time to be alive? Harvard cognitive psychologist and best-selling author Steven Pinker joins Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster and John Cochrane to make the case for optimism in this time of the “Great Awokening.”

Interviews

Why Cannot Technocratic California Get The Vaccine As In As Orderly A Way As Technocratic South Carolina?

interview with Bill Whalenvia The John Batchelor Show
Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen discusses his California on Your Mind article “Bright Light,” Big State?

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: Return To Normalcy?

interview with David Brady, Douglas Rivers, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Thursday, April 15, 2021

Do Democrats run the risk of a backlash in the 2022 midterm elections if they over-reach on hot-button issues such as immigration, gun control, voting rights and packing the Supreme Court?

The StateAnalysis and Commentary

“Bright Light,” Big State?

by Bill Whalenvia California on Your Mind
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

This column comes to you by way of my home away from home in the “low country” of South Carolina, where this past weekend I did something that not enough of my fellow Californians can readily claim.

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