Bill Whalen

Research Fellow

Bill Whalen, 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

Mitt Happens -- So What Happens Next?

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, February 17, 2018

A busy Friday of news (Russian collusion arrests, bull week on Wall Street, aftermath of the Florida school shooting) included Mitt Romney, as expected, dropping a video announcing his Senate candidacy in Utah.

Analysis and Commentary

Steve Poizner Adds Some Spice To 2018 Election

by Bill Whalenvia The Sacramento Bee
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Rather than more idle speculation over who will be the next governor of California, let’s look at an office further down the ladder – state insurance commissioner.


The Democrats' Best Hope In 2020? Electing More Governors In 2018

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, February 10, 2018

Buried deep in a news cycle chock-full of jaw-dropping events (the Patriots lose, the markets tank, domestic violence casts an ugly shadow over the White House): reports that former Texas congressman and HUD Secretary Julian Castro is visiting New Hampshire.

Analysis and Commentary

Super Bowl LII Meets Collusion Bowl II

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, February 3, 2018

The New York Yankees won 11 World Series during the presidencies of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. The UCLA Bruins ruled college basketball nine out of 10 years during the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Analysis and Commentary

How Will Gov. Brown Have Republicans’ Back?

by Bill Whalenvia The Sacremento Bee
Thursday, February 1, 2018

It doesn’t have the comedic value of “the era of big government is over” (Bill Clinton’s 1996 State of the Union speech), but I do wonder what Gov. Jerry Brown was getting at in last week’s State of the State address when he assured legislative Republicans: “Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.”

John F. Kennedy

Another Kennedy, Another New Frontier -- And A Good Time For Trump To Evoke JFK

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask if you can survive another wave of Kennedy nostalgia. It’s coming Tuesday night, right after Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III – grand-nephew of the three Kennedy males who cast a long shadow over national politics for the better part of six decades – delivers the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union Address.

IntroductionAnalysis and Commentary

A New Year, A California Governor’s Final Year, A Lot Of Unknowns

by Bill Whalenvia Eureka
Thursday, January 25, 2018

California governors don’t make New Year’s resolutions – publicly, at least. The closest they come to vows of self-improvement is the annual State of the Address, delivered every January before a joint session of the State Legislature.

Analysis and Commentary

The State Of The State In California? Maybe The Next Governor Will Have More To Say

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Thursday, January 25, 2018

On the morning of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s final State of the State Address, delivered earlier today in Sacramento, his office homepage led with a three-day old proclamation declaring a day of remembrance for those lost in the recent Montecito mudslides.


If It's A War That California Wants, Here Are Four Things Trump Can Do To Up The Ante

by Bill Whalenvia Forbes
Saturday, January 20, 2018

As this is the weekend marking the completion of year one of the Trump Administration, it’s as good a time as any to look at the dysfunctional relationship between the American President and America’s nation-state.


The Issues Gov. Jerry Brown Shouldn't Gloss Over

by Bill Whalenmentioning Joshua D. Rauhvia The Sacremento Bee
Thursday, January 18, 2018

If brevity is the soul of wit, then the Jerry Brown who’s about to deliver his final State of the State address as California’s governor is Sacramento’s answer to Will Rogers.