82 episodes

They're the "Click and Clack" of Wisconsin politics. Scott Milfred, editorial page editor for the Wisconsin State Journal, and Phil Hands, the newspaper's political cartoonist, analyze the most important issues and debates from the Badger State with political independence and a sense of humor. Instead of tedious talking points from the left and the right, "Center Stage" broadcasts from the sensible center with audio clips from the Wisconsin Capitol, from State Journal editorial board meetings, and from political events across the state.

Center Stage, with Milfred and Hands Wisconsin State Journal

    • News Commentary
    • 4.5, 18 Ratings

They're the "Click and Clack" of Wisconsin politics. Scott Milfred, editorial page editor for the Wisconsin State Journal, and Phil Hands, the newspaper's political cartoonist, analyze the most important issues and debates from the Badger State with political independence and a sense of humor. Instead of tedious talking points from the left and the right, "Center Stage" broadcasts from the sensible center with audio clips from the Wisconsin Capitol, from State Journal editorial board meetings, and from political events across the state.

    The race to replace Madison's forever state senator veers left

    The race to replace Madison's forever state senator veers left

    Milfred and Hands assess the long list of candidates for the Wisconsin Senate seat representing Madison. They reveal who the State Journal editorial board is endorsing in the race and why. The winner of the Aug. 11 Democratic primary will replace Sen. Fred Risser, who is retiring after more than a half century in office. (No Republicans are seeking the post.) The editorial board interviewed six of the hopefuls for the seat. Our opinionated podcasters play audio clips from those meetings, and talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each contender. 

    • 26 min
    Trump vs. Biden ad war goes back to the future in Wisconsin

    Trump vs. Biden ad war goes back to the future in Wisconsin

    Milfred and Hands play and comment on the latest campaign messages from Donald Trump, Joe Biden and a host of special interest groups hoping to influence the Nov. 3 election. Trump's allies go back 30 years to find faults with Biden they hope will re-resonate now. Biden and Democrats are fixating on Trump's failings with the coronavirus pandemic. Curiously, the TV ads have been running in just about every Wisconsin media market except Madison. Trump is behind in the polls, but he was behind in 2016, too, when he squeaked out victory. Our editorial board members reference "Hamilton," Trump's exaggerated baseball career, and Biden's touchy-feely habit that the Democratic nominee oddly embraces in his ad about character. With only 118 days before the November election, the presidential campaign ads are just the beginning of an onslaught targeting the airwaves in our swingiest of swing states.

    • 22 min
    What white people don't get about the black experience in Madison

    What white people don't get about the black experience in Madison

    Milfred and Hands ask Sheri Carter, Madison's first black female City Council president, about race, police, protesters and what white people in the capital city don't understand about the African American experience here. "The civil rights movement never ended," she says, recalling growing up in Madison with what today would be described as helicopter parents on the South Side. Her parents came here in the 1950s from Louisiana, and her father called Madison "a breath of fresh air" in comparison. But Madison still has stark disparities that Carter wants to address. And in recent weeks, protests over the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis, have led large protests on State Street in Madison, late-night looting, the toppling of statues on the Capitol Square, and senseless violence. A strong leader during turbulent times, Carter has a knack for pulling people together. But she has no plans to run for mayor anytime soon (though she dodged a question about Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.) 

    • 32 min
    The big surprise from #TapeGate isn't what you think

    The big surprise from #TapeGate isn't what you think

    Milfred and Hands dissect the secret recording someone on Gov. Tony Evers' staff made of what was supposed to be a private phone call between the Democratic governor and top Republican lawmakers about the coronavirus crisis in Wisconsin. The big surprise, now that the call has become public under the state's open records law, wasn't Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald suggesting Evers is out of touch. Nor was it Assembly Speaker Robin Vos citing "immigrant culture" as a factor in the spread of COVID-19. #TapeGate illustrates a much blander yet important reality for state government. And Hands wonders if Roger Stone will get a new tattoo.

    • 25 min
    Will the real Satya Rhodes-Conway please stand up?

    Will the real Satya Rhodes-Conway please stand up?

    The mayor's apology this week for a video praising the hard work of police didn't seem to please anyone -- especially the activists demanding big change to law enforcement. Milfred and Hands play and discuss the two recorded messages Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway aimed at two very different audiences this week. Crediting front-line cops who are trying to do the right thing while at the same time supporting calls for reform shouldn't be mutually exclusive. But the mayor failed to bridge those two sentiments, which was her mistake. Our political podcasters in the sensible center of Wisconsin politics explore the accusation that Rhodes-Conway is being two-faced.

    • 24 min
    Dane County is restrained while Wisconsin goes free-range

    Dane County is restrained while Wisconsin goes free-range

    Milfred and Hands analyze Joe Parisi's cautious and confusing plan for slowly reopening Dane County's economy. Most of Wisconsin has lifted its COVID-19 restrictions in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling striking down Gov. Tony Evers' "safer at home" order. Our opinionated podcasters urge Dane County's executive to be more flexible if neighboring counties do fine against the novel coronavirus without strict rules limiting business and public gatherings. They also play audio clips from the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board's recent Zoom meeting with Parisi and his top health advisor, Janel Heinrich. "We're trying to give as much certainty as we can during a very uncertain time," Parisi says. But his "Forward Dane" plan is more complicated and limiting than Evers would have been. 

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
18 Ratings

18 Ratings

Hey224456 ,

Great

Great podcast

SuzanneLikesPodcasts ,

5/30 episode a disappointment

Harris is angry, Warren is negative, but Buttigieg is getting attention because he has a nice personality.... These are gendered observations (and you do realize Harris and Warren are polling above Buttigieg nationally, correct?). I've enjoyed your podcast in the past, but it's very disappointing to hear this coming from the Wisconsin State Journal. I've unsubscribed.

Weissnorth ,

Entertaining!

Very insightful, non-partisan. And entertaining! 20 mins is just the right length too, to be able to listen in one sitting.

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