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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 03/18/15

Guests: Matt Welch, Robi Ludwig, Gabrielle Glaser

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: If I could take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world. HAYES: Presidential contender Scott Walker says he can take on ISIS. But did he just cave to pressure from Iowa farmers? HAYES: And as the 2016 campaign season ramps up, a reminder what the Republican candidates can expect. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is the Congress rolling over and letting this communist dictator destroy my country? HAYES: Then, what Benjamin Netanyahu`s resounding reelection means to Israel and the United States. DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA ADVISER: He mortgaged the future in order to win an election. HAYES: Former White House adviser David Axelrod joins me live. Plus, desperate measures against drought in California, the movement against Alcoholics Anonymous, and when the conversation about race conversations gets awkward. (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I`m actually black. You assumed otherwise. HAYES: ALL IN starts right now. Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who last week faced harsh criticism from President Obama for signing an anti-union bill into law, and then cited the president`s words to argue he may well be the front-runner of the GOP presidential nomination. Well, that Scott Walker is now getting the attention that comes with front-runner status and he is crumbling the face of it. Last month, in an instantly infamous comment, Walker asserted his success in battling the Wisconsin labor unions, with evidence he could stand up to ISIS. But forget ISIS, on three separate occasions this month, Scott Walker has shown he can`t even stand up to politicos and pig farmers in Iowa, whose first in the nation caucuses he appears desperate to win. First, Walker flip-flopped on immigration, repudiating his previous support for comprehensive immigration reform and putting himself in ideological alignment with Iowa Representative Steve King, who staunchly opposes immigration reform and once said of children of illegal immigrants, quote, "They`ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they`re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." Walker was confronted about his immigration flip flop on FOX. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: You said you supported it. WALKER: And my view has changed. I`m flat-out saying it. Candidates can say that. Sometimes they don`t. I`m saying -- WALLACE: So, you changed from 2013? WALKER: Absolutely. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: One week later, Walker went to Iowa to flip-flop yet again, dropping his previous opposition to ethanol mandates and offering a new stance that is, as "The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal" politely put it, well- suited to a state covered in corn fields. Walker had previously dismissed the ethanol mandate as, quote, "a big government mandate". But that was before he was courting Iowa farmers. And now, Walker is even sacrificing his staff to keep Iowa happy. Liz Mair, veteran Republican strategist, someone I`ve had on the show, was tapped on Monday to lead Walker`s online communication efforts. During a Steve King hosted event in January, while speaker was mocking immigration activist, Mair had tweeted, quote, "Iowa is once again embarrassing itself and the GOP." She also tweeted, quote, "The sooner we remove Iowa`s front running status, the better off American politics and policy will be." In another tweet, Mair had pointed out that many Iowans are dependent on the very agricultural subsidies Walker had suddenly learned to love. All of this did not go over well with Jeff Kaufman, the man who happens to be the Iowa Republican Party chairman. A man who told "The New York Times" that Walker should fire Mair, saying, quote, "I find her to be shallow and ignorant, and adding that if I was Governor Walker, I`d send her her walking papers." When the Iowa GOP speaks, apparently, Scott Walker listens. By last night, less than a day after she had joined the campaign, Mair had resigned, saying in a statement, quote, "The tone of some of my tweets concerning Iowa was at odds with that which Governor Walker has always encouraged in political discourse." Scott Walker says if he can take on unions in Wisconsin, he can take on ISIS. But Walker`s pandering on Iowa has conservative columnist Phil Klein drawing a different conclusion, "If Scott Walker can`t stand up to Iowans," he said, "how can he stand up to the Islamic State?" Joining me now, Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of "Reason Magazine". Well, what do you make of all this? MATT WELCH, REASON MAGAZINE: It`s embarrassing is what it is, frankly. I mean, Liz Mair is someone -- she`s more libertarian than your average Republican. But here`s the thing, so is every single GOP strategist under the age of 40. They are more libertarian than your average Republican. She wants to get rid of -- she wrote a piece for "Reason" in 2007 -- saying that she wanted to get rid of farm subsidies, right? And these kinds of things. HAYES: I met her -- I met her at some confab in D.C. years ago, and she immediately struck up a conversation about farm subsidies. And let`s just be clear, this is how a conservative principle standpoint, right? WELCH: Yes. HAYES: The idea is that ethanol is basically a wasteful government mandate that has been put in there by red seeking large corporations that benefit handsomely from it and use their lobbying dollars to keep the mandate flowing so that they can make money off of it. It`s inefficient. It`s not good for the environment. WELCH: It`s bad for the environment. And this is exactly what Scott Walker used to say. Here`s the problem with Scott Walker on all of this stuff. Yes, he is a semi front-runner at this point. Right now there`s a strong anti- establishment mood on the right. It hasn`t expressed itself yet in presidential nominees. It didn`t in 2012. Mitt Romney was not the anti- establishment candidate. John McCain certainly was not the anti- establishment candidate. So, one thing that the anti-establishment candidate wants to see the electorate, they want to see somebody who`s going to stand up to corporatism very strongly and also just going to be an authentic type of person. This move is 0 for 2 on both of these fronts. He`s flip-flopping -- you saw him on FOX, I mean, explaining his -- (CROSSTALK) HAYES: Yes. WELCH: -- incredibly inauthentic, the ethanol is even worse. And this move with Liz Mair just shows kind of the same thing. HAYES: It also says to me about the fact that we like to talk about our American political debates, about the size and scope of government. When it comes down to it, they aren`t in most cases, right? They`re about competing interests, they`re about competing coalitions, they`re about competing groups of people that have competing conceptions of the good. The idea that we`re actually having this spectrum question about moral government -- like here`s the ethanol example that`s perfect. Has nothing to do with a philosophical debate about more or less government, right? WELCH: Yes, but there`s more of that discussion on the right and in this campaign that there has been in a while because of the inroads of the Tea Party and more kind of libertarian on economics bent out there, and also on social issues as well. So, Ted Cruz is out there campaigning in Iowa, where he`s doing pretty well on a socially conservative message. But he`s saying, I am not going to tell you the thing that we always tell you, I`m against these subsidies. They`re dumb. I`m against the mandate. They`re dumb. Let`s move to the next question. So, there`s more of a talk like that. There is a talk about the size and scope of government among people like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and some other people. But you`re right, in the functionality, in Washington, we have a budget, one is $3 trillion, one is $3.8 trillion, Republican, Democrat, they`re both big. HAYES: There`s a question, too, about the process, we`re going to get to this in a second. We`ll play incredible, incredible sound of Rick Santorum getting a question at town hall. We played you a little clip at the beginning, which is the dynamic process by which a primary is this way in which donor interests, grass roots activists, everyday voters, politico is their staff, right, in this dynamic process, create a set of positions, right? They put stakes in the ground. And to me, what`s dangerous here is allowing certain interests in Iowa to dictate what stake you put in the ground, particularly Steve King on immigration. WELCH: Yes, Steve King is a, I think, very nightmarish politician. Anybody named King who`s in the Congress, I think qualifies there. But this whole act with Liz Mair, I mean, Breitbart ran this pretty awful story, and that if Andrew Breitbart was alive, he`d probably be ashamed of, trying to say that Liz Mair is an awful person because she likes gay marriage and that she`s in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and these kinds of things. It`s different groups trying to set up and sort of police the movement. Trying to police -- HAYES: Exactly right. WELCH: -- Scott Walker. Well, you know, Michelle Malkin came out today and said this is a great example of us trying to vet Scott Walker. They do agree that there is a vetting process, imperfect and kind of ugly as it is. But at some point, it`s people who are trying to push this candidate into this position in which they don`t have -- they can`t move. HAYES: People are trying to hammer flags into hills, right? And those flags stick around. We saw that in 2012 on immigration particularly. Matt Welch, always a pleasure. WELCH: Thank you. HAYES: All right. One of Scott Walker`s likely rivals to the GOP presidential nomination and erstwhile presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, was in South Carolina over the weekend to speak at the National Security Action Summit where he fielded a very lengthy question from a self-described schoolteacher -- retired schoolteacher and political activist named Virginia. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VIRGINIA: The American people put Republicans back in office in the house and the Senate, and the two things we asked y`all to do were shut down Obama`s executive amnesty and shut down Obamacare. And you didn`t -- you let us down on both issues. Why is the Congress rolling over and letting this communist dictator destroy my country? Y`all know what he is, and I know what he is. I want him out of the White House. He`s not a citizen. He could have been removed a long time ago. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Virginia went on to tell Santorum that the president is trying to destroy the United States, literally. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VIRGINIA: I don`t think the country will be around for the next election. Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago, and the three admirals and generals, he has totally destroyed our military. He`s fired all the generals, and all the admirals that said they wouldn`t fire on the American people, if you asked him to do so, if he wanted to take the guns away from him. This man is a communist dictator. We need him out of that White House now. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Rick Santorum was absolutely offended by this question. But not for the reason you might think. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FMR. SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: First off, I take somewhat offense to referring to you, because I`m not a sitting member of the Senate, so I`m not taking blame for any of that stuff, all right? I mean, there -- (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: How dare you call me a member of Congress? Santorum then we went on to call the president a tyrant. Joining me now, MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid. This is a reminder of what the next year or so is going to be. And it`s what I was saying with Matt, which is, the base get to say in the primary -- I would think it is a good thing. I think this is the dynamic process by which our political parties sort out where they are on things. But that woman, and -- you know, God bless her, she`s got strong views, and she is participating in the civic process. And I don`t want to begrudge her that. But she`s representative of how a lot of people feel. And candidates in the primary are going to have to think about how Virginias in the world are going to vote, particularly in the Iowa caucus. JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. It`s hard to pity a wealthy powerful man like Jeb Bush. But when you hear things like that, you begin to understand the dilemma of somebody like a establishment Bush or a Scott Walker, who by the way became the Milwaukee County executive, by kind of seeming like an old-fashioned Republican, not a radical Republican that was going to undo the entire union movement in his state. They have to still cater to a base that -- you talked about the base deciding. In Iowa, the farthest right part of the base decides. And since there isn`t this imperative to go ahead and try to win it, you have to cater to that base, at least somewhat. And to the extent that these candidates are willing to have ideological elasticity -- and bend some of their views to cater to the people of Virginia, then they have to own that in the general if they make it that far. HAYES: Well, and that`s actually the thing. And you can see Rick Santorum doing this thing. I mean, you were talking about pity for -- I actually felt pity for Rick Santorum. He was very patient. You know, they are going to have to walk through this minefield, which is not say things, there`s cameras everywhere. They`re going to do a million of these events. They`re going to be doing them all day. They`re going to do town halls. They`re going to get Q&As, and they`ve got to walk through, and just enough to get the crowd on your side. But not say a thing like -- well, yes, of course he tried to nuke Charleston. REID: No, exactly. And, yes, Obama is trying to destroy the country. I mean, this was John McCain`s central dilemma, his whole brand was about straight talk, right? That`s why the media fell in love with him. He was on the straight talk express. He was much less popular than Sarah Palin in 2008, much less, significantly less. The crowds were smaller, because she was willing to say the things and throw the bombs that he at first was sort of grudgefully trying to avoid. But once he went all in, once he did that, that helped his popularity. There is this dynamic where Republicans, their base has gone so far to the right, at least the most vocal part of it, that it would take a strong self-possessed person with an already established sterling reputation to stand up and say, you know what, that`s wrong. And that kind of a person could probably win a general election. HAYES: And the question I think is whether we`re going to see someone like Jeb Bush take that route, right? REID: I wouldn`t count on it. (LAUGHTER) HAYES: I don`t count on it either, because -- again, let`s talk about Iowa, the numbers, right? One of our producers is noting today I think that you can fit the amount of people that participate in the Iowa caucus inside the Indianapolis Daytona 500 stadium, right? So, you`re talking about not just -- you`re talking about one state, you`re talking about the Republicans in a state, and you`re talking about not even a majority of the registered Republicans in the state of Iowa participate in the caucuses. So, you`re in the territory of the kind of people that are motivated enough, they will come to these sort of things. REID: And you also have to remember, too, that the base of the Republican Party has been spurned for a long time, not by the general population, but by the Republican Party. The Republican Party has said, you want this person that`s far to the right, we`re giving you McCain. You want this person that`s far to the right, you`re getting Mitt Romney. They understand that the establishment of their own party not only does that, but then goes to Washington like Mitch McConnell did and said, I`m cutting deals. You don`t like me, you can`t beat me because I`m going to take the Tea Party apart. And he said he was going to do it and he did it. HAYES: Let me tell you something about the donor class and the donor class in both parties. They have contempt for the base, the donor class. And there are people who are sitting around the donor class writing the $500 million checks, in the super PAC, that video is their nightmare, and they want someone who has contempt of those people. And that`s the bizarre perverse truth at the heart of American politics in the Citizens United era. We`ll see how it plays out. REID: We shall see. HAYES: Joy Reid, always a pleasure. Thank you. REID: Thank you. Same here. HAYES: If you had any friendly wagers that Benjamin Netanyahu wasn`t going to win another term as prime minister, you lost. Is the U.S.-Israeli relationship broken now? David Axelrod will be here to talk about that with me, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Here`s what Robert Durst, heir to a great real estate fortune and now accused of murder, here`s what he had in his hotel room at the time of his arrest on Saturday for the 2000 murder of Susan Berman. Ready? $42,631 in cash, mostly in $100 bills, packed in small envelopes. A piece of paper continuing a series of UPS tracking numbers. Durst told detectives it was the numbers of a shipment of large amounts of cash. Five ounces of marijuana. And in his position who can blame him. A .38 revolver that one spent shell casing and live round. A fake Texas identification under the named Everett Ward, and a rubber latex mask, which as described in a search warrant would cover an individual`s head and neck. Durst`s arrest came the day before the final episode of "The Jinx", HBO series about his life, during which Durst seemed to make a startling admission during a visit to the bathroom while he was still miked. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROBERT DURST: There it is. You`re caught. You`re right, of course. But you can`t imagine. I`m having difficulty with the question. What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News authorities decided to arrest Durst on Saturday because they were concerned he could be a flight risk. Back in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: In the end, it wasn`t even close. Benjamin Netanyahu`s Likud Party defeated its center left challenger by six seats in yesterday`s parliamentary election, a decisive victory by any standard, but especially in Israel`s complicated multiparty system. Less than a week ago, it looked like Netanyahu`s days in power might be numbered. Polls showed Likud trailing four seats behind Isaac Herzog of Zionist Union. And it would seem like a desperate play to make up ground. The prime minister tacked hard to the right to try and peel off support from Israel`s far right nationalist party. He vowed to continue banning -- expanding settlements in the occupied territories. He renounced his support for Palestinian statehood, a central tenet in the peace process for decades, and on election day, he resorted to what`s been criticized as overtly racist fear mongering, calling on supporters to counter the wave of Israeli Arab voters heading to the polls. Well, it appears to have all worked. Two of Israel`s far right parties fared worse on election day than they had in recent polls, suggesting their supporters ultimately made the difference for Netanyahu`s Likud. With a mandate like that, it looks increasingly likely he`ll form a right wing government, without the participation and influence of some of the more moderate parties. So now that Netanyahu has put his thumb in the eye of the American president with his speech to Congress, and disavowed the two-state solution, the pillar of American foreign policy, at least in rhetoric in the Middle East, as he prepares to serve a third consecutive term as prime minister, the question is -- has something fundamentally broken in the U.S.-Israeli relationship? The White House today criticized the tactic used in the home stretch of the campaign saying, quote, "Rhetoric that seems to marginalizes one segment of the population is deeply concerning and it is divisive," and acknowledged the administration will have to re-evaluate its approach in light of Netanyahu`s reversal on the peace process. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod was even more forthright about the consequences. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AXELROD: It`s harder to defend when your policies were not for a two- state solution. We`re going to continue to settle the territories. It puts -- it puts the United States in a very difficult position. He mortgaged the future in order to win an election. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: We`re joined now by David Axelrod, former senior adviser of President Obama, now an MSNBC senior political analyst and author of best- selling memoir, "Believer". David, you`re a crafty smart guy about politics. So, let`s just talk about the politics here. Netanyahu`s a very gifted politician, and he knew where the votes were, and it looked like he went and found them. AXELROD: Oh, yes. I mean, nobody should ever doubt that. Bibi Netanyahu is a masterful politician. He understands his country and politics of his country. And, you know, I think the trip to Congress was his first run at trying to galvanize the right. That didn`t work. And so, in the last 48 hours, or really the last four days, he went to defcon 5, or whatever it is, and he hit every hot button there was. And he did it, you know, skillfully, if not shamefully, or shamefully, and skillfully -- in terms of separating himself from the peace process, dividing his own country, Arab and Jew. And, you know, it was really remarkable, remarkable performance. As a matter of pure clinical politics, it was very, very well done. The problem is, now he`s going back and he`s going to be the prime minister. And one of the ramifications of all the things he did in order to win that election, that`s concerning. HAYES: Well, that`s the question. Let me play devil`s advocate. I mean, if I`m Netanyahu, I say, look, U.S.-Israeli, you know, relationship is built on a lot more than whether we say we want the peace process, which everyone doubted I was lying anyway, it`s much more robust than any president and prime minister. What are you guys really going to do? Are you going to walk away? Are you going to start changing your votes at the U.N. Security Council? Are you going to start condemning the settlements? Are you going to start backing Palestinian moves in the International Criminal Court? Like what actually are you going to do? I mean, that is what Netanyahu has to be thinking when he wakes up as prime minister again. AXELROD: No, there is no doubt about it. He`s gambling. We do have a strong special relationship with Israel, and that transcends the relationship between this government and the current government of Netanyahu. And you can see it in the military assistance that`s provided and all the other things that America has done for and with Israel over the last six years. But what he`s done is made it much more difficult -- America has stood almost alone for Israel in a lot of these international forums over the last several years, when the Palestinians have put pressure with lots of allies on the Israelis. And part of the reason we were able to do that is because Israel spoke to the notion of a two-state solution. There was an answer. Now, that that`s not the case, now that he`s declared that he`s going to continue to settle the territories, that there won`t be a two-state solution, it becomes much harder to defend Israel in these international bodies. I think he`s done his country a great disservice, and he`s put additional pressure on our relationship in that regard. I think in other ways, Chris, you`re right. The relationship will continue to be strong. And it should continue to be strong. One thing we should say, whether we like the tactics of Netanyahu or not, they just had a really robust election in Israel. That spoke to the vibrancy of democracy in that country, and underscored the fact that they`re the one reliable democracy in the region. HAYES: Well, I mean, part of the robustness of the turnout had to do with the fact that Avigdor Lieberman pushed for a provision in the Knesset that was aimed at cutting out the Arab parties which then joined in to the Joint List and actually came out to vote in record numbers. So, there`s a little bit of a backlash effect there. But in terms of Netanyahu, do you anticipate him essentially trying to walk back that comment about blocking a Palestinian state and say, look, I was on the campaign trail, it was an interview, they asked me, I said, of course, the official position of this government is we were committed to a peace process? Two states for two people living side by side, will he be able to do that? AXELROD: One thing about Bibi Netanyahu is every day is a new day. He does what he needs to do when he needs to do it. And he felt he did what he needed to do, if it`s in his interests. If he sees it in his political interest to change, or walk-back that position in subtle ways, or not so subtle ways, I wouldn`t -- I wouldn`t be shocked if he did. After all, for six years he`s been telling the world that he was for a two-state solution. And he reverses that position on the eve of an election? I mean, what does that tell you about his situational ethics? He`s going to make the decisions that he thinks are good for him. The question is whether he thinks it`s in his interests to make that move. Now that he has a right-wing government. You know, in the last government he had moderating influences in the cabinet. Now, they`re all going to be in the opposition. And it makes -- it calls into question whether he`ll feel pressure in order to hold his coalition together, whether he`ll feel pressure to move, and he may not. HAYES: David Axelrod, always a pleasure, David. Thank you. AXELROD: OK, great to be with you. HAYES: If you`re watching the show yesterday, you witnessed a pretty awkward moment between two of our guests getting that`s been a lot of attention. My thoughts on what happened, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I regard my Starbucks as my third place. And I -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, to quote Melady Hopsin, your terrific board member, this is a third rail issue. Why would I want, as a customer or as a shareholder, a third rail running through my third place? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Riding on the cusp is a small piece of this overall strategy. Whether a person wants to admit it or not, we all have some level of unconscious bias. And if we could approach that with a higher degree of empathy and compassion and understanding, it will go a long way to bridge the divide. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Last night on this show we had a conversation about having conversations in the wake of Starbucks` new initiative, encouraging baristas to talk openly to customers about race as part of a campaign called "race together". The conversation we had, Nancy Giles and James Smooth, was pretty fascinating I thought. But, at one point it got kind of awkward. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAY SMOOTH, PRODUCER: When somebody picks my pocket, I`m not going to be chasing them down so I can figure out whether he feels like he`s a thief deep down in his heart. I`m going to be chasing him down so I can get my wallet back. I don`t care what he is, but I need to hold him accountable for what he did. And that`s how we need to approach these conversations about race. Treat them like they took your wallet and focus on the part that matters. Holding each person accountable for the impact of their words and actions. HAYES: And this gets to something that -- the point you`re making there, which is that when we talk about conversations about race, rather than saying, you are a racist, or -- just focus on the individual things that happen, right? NANCY GILES: I can`t not tease Jay about the kind of like, brother way he was trying talking. You know, like, hey, with the rap music in the background. SMOOTH: I`m a rap guy. GILES: Yeah, I know. But it`s kind of, it`s another interesting, funny thing about race. Like, there would be some people that feel that you co-opted something like that, and other people might feel like well, that`s his background and that`s really cool, too. Yo, like, you know, if somebody takes my wallet. I mean it`s really interesting since you weren`t talking that way to me -- SMOOTH: It`s also interesting because I am actually black, but you assumed otherwise. And this is the sort of awkwardness we can look forward to. Giles: See? Absolutely. HAYES: Now a lot of people have been sharing that part of the conversation today. Sites like Father Jones, Gawker, New York Magazine, Jay Smooth was even trending on Facebook at one point, which is great because Jay Smooth should always be trending, on all social media platforms. There are a couple of things I want to say about that interaction. First, sometimes live TV is hard, things can go in unexpected directions, and I think that both Jay and Nancy handled themselves incredibly graciously. We were all sort of joking and talking about it after we got off the set. The second thing I want to say about that interaction is that we came pretty close to something profound about what race is, and what it isn`t. Race is not a real thing. It`s not. It is a social construct. It`s not a blood type, it`s not a fingerprint, it`s not some biological thing that you can extract from someone. It`s not something that`s out there in the world. But at the same time, racism, racial hierarchy, racial prejudice, racial inequality, those are all very real. Very, very real. And that`s the fundamental paradox of this whole thing. You can see someone across the room and think completely the wrong thing about, quote, what race they are. But the perception about, quote, what race they are has massive consequences for everything from housing, to incarceration, to education. Which brings us back to part of the problem with our conversations about race, whether they`re on cable news or over macchiatos. We don`t need to talk about race, which is not real. We need to talk about racism, which very, very much is. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Yesterday California state regulators unanimously approved new water use restrictions aimed at residents. The crackdown on consumption comes four years into the state`s historic drought, and after a slew of genuinely terrifying headlines, one noting that "California has about one year of water left". Another that, "water-strapped California is all out of snow". Today, NOAA announced the planet just has officially had its warmest winter since they started recording temperatures. This winter was California`s warmest, too, by a long shot. And the snow pack that usually provides the state with 30% of its water, is at its second lowest level in recorded history. You can see in a year-by-year comparison how the drought has enveloped the state. March of 2011, just two parts of the state were abnormally dry. Two years later, much of the state was experiencing severe drought. And now, huge swath of the nation`s largest state, that grows most of our food, are in exceptional drought. The most extreme category according to the national drought mitigation center. Needless to say, it`s a dire situation. The state`s most recent answer, trying to put some limits on water consumption. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lawn sprinklers will to come on only a limited number of days each week. Local water agencies will either have to limit outdoor watering to two days a week or establish their own local limit. That could be, technically, as many days as they want. Other new rules will ban all outdoor watering for 48 hours after measurable rainfall. Restaurants will only offer drinking water upon request. And hotels will only change sheets and towels upon request. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: I should note, they grow a lot of our food, not most of it. Right now, the state of California is where New York was after superstorm Sandy, or Texas after the 2011 wildfires. They`re not just talking about the effects of changing climate patterns, they are living them. I spoke with California`s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, and asked him if these new regulations go far enough. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GAVIN NEWSOM, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Yeah, it`s small ball, unquestionably. Look, two things happened yesterday. We extended the existing emergency provisions for another 270 days, and we added a few additional things to the extent -- those critics, I think, are right and accurate. By denying people the ability to have water when they sit down at a restaurant, automatically they have to ask, and requiring now hoteliers to encourage guests that are staying multiple nights to ask for whether or not they want their towels washed and their linens washed. So, it`s relatively small ball. The bottom line is we can sit here and pray for more rain, that`s an immediate solution, but we`re not able to legislate it. That`s not necessarily going to work. We can talk about conservation, which we must, and efficiency, which we must. But, I think we`re going to have to move towards mandatory rationing. We have a voluntary rationing that`s been out for a year. It`s just simply inadequate to the moment, just 10% or so reduction from the 20% the governor was hoping for. HAYES: Okay, you just said a phrase that I have never heard a politician with any ambitions ever say, which is the phrase mandatory rationing. Which is essentially anathema in American political vocabulary. You`re someone who`s going to run for governor? You want to govern this state. You want to have a future statewide and you`re going to run around telling people that you`ve got to do mandatory rationing? NEWSOM: Well, you know my frustration is this is serious. This is code red. This is the fourth year of dry. We went through three years of the hottest in recorded history. Last year, literally the hottest ever in recorded history in California. I`m sitting here, behind me you see the skyline of San Francisco, wasn`t a drop of rain in the entire month of January. It`s close to 100 degrees down in the southern part of the state this last weekend. This is serious. And, we can play small ball, we can deny restaurateurs again from pouring a glass of water, we can call for voluntary rationing, because that polls better, or we can lead. And, I guess at the end of the day we have to ask ourselves are we just stewards or are we going to step up and step in and actually share our private thoughts, trust me, private thoughts are ample around a requirement for some mandatory reductions, or we can continue to play the finger in the wind politics, that frankly has put us in this crisis in the first place. It`s both mother nature and a man-made crisis, because we haven`t taken it seriously enough over the last few decades. HAYES: So you`ve got two things here, right, as you just noted. There`s the fact that water rights have always been complicated. Water is a scarce resource, particularly in Southern California. You know, L.A. shouldn`t exist but for the fact that, as we know from Chinatown, and lots of other stuff, right, you have water there that is very hard to get, and has to be rationed. And now we`re on the front edge of a climate crisis. I mean, as you think about running to be Governor of a state, this is not a temporary situation, right? You`ve got to think, this is the next, into the foreseeable future and it`s only going to get worse. NEWSOM: Yeah, it`s the new normal. And, you know, compound that with the growing population, and inadequate infrastructure that was built for a world that no longer exists a half century ago. Now, a couple of good things have happened. We passed a $7.5 billion dollar bond that includes some wildlife restoration, or rather, some restoration efforts related to some environmental protections that relate to storage and conveyance. Those are important things. But those are medium and long-term solutions. We finally passed some groundwater legislation to finally do what almost every other western state has been doing for years and years, and that`s have some regulations, some oversight of groundwater. But the reality is, in the immediate, we`ve got immediate challenge. And we can`t play in the margins. We`ve got to be honest with people about this. And, you know again, the public`s doing a good job. We did see a reduction of about 9.7% in our water consumption. But I`ll tell you, if I were Mayor of San Francisco, still, I would have already, having run a water system as Mayor, require that mandatory, and I think it`s inevitable that it`s going to be required. And, I think the state did the unprecedented yesterday by dictating two local authorities what they should be doing as a floor, not a ceiling. And I`m hopeful now that the local agencies will take it to the next level with that mandatory consideration. HAYES: Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. We`re going to try to come out to California. Do a week of shows out there later this year. Hopefully, we can talk about this more. NEWSOM: This is the issue of our time out here in the West, so we`d be grateful. Love to see you out here. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Around the country, if you get caught drunk behind the wheel, you`re likely to be sentenced to a 12-step recovery program based on Alcoholics Anonymous, the famous 12-step program. But, should that be the case? What exactly does Science say about how effective AA actually is? That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: The way things happen on social media is so abusive. And everyone needs to take personal responsibility for what they write. And, by the way, I`m pressing charges. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Actress Ashley Judd made news this week when she told our very own Thomas Roberts she plans to press charges against the people responsible for sending her threatening messages via Twitter over the weekend. The University of Kentucky superfan was was live tweeting Sunday`s game against Arkansas, tweeting at one point she thought Arkansas was, quote, playing dirty. And, for that, just like practically every other woman who`s ever expressed any opinion of any kind on the internet, Ashley Judd was treated to a barrage of abusive messages, crude and vulgar language, and threats of sexual violence. Judd`s refusal to accept that this is the state of social media for women comes just as Twitter is rolling out a new tool, designed to make it easier for users to report threats to law enforcement. Twitter announced the changes yesterday. From now on, after you report a threatening comment to Twitter, they`ll say we`ll offer to e-mail you a detailed report that includes much of the documentation you`d need to provide to law enforcement if you want to press charges. The universe of hateful threatening anonymous trolls is vast. This feels like maybe, it`s a step in the right direction. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: I`ve always thought Alcoholics Anonymous is genuinely one of the most remarkable institutions human beings have ever bit. I mean, it operates in a totally distributive, Democratic fashion. You can find a meeting anywhere at anytime. AA will even have a meeting on your cruise ship, floating in the middle of the Caribbean. And, all of this was built not by government, or by business, but rather in an incredibly associative way. Two people started talking to each other and supporting each other on how to stop drinking. AA meetings grew out of that simple concept. Millions of people swear by it, say it changed and saved their lives, including many in our legal system, with courts often mandating AA for people with alcohol or drug problems. And more of that, it`s also just a completely central part of our culture. When someone talks about someone going into recovery, we know what that means. According to a new article in The Atlantic, "today there are more than 13,000 rehab facilities in the United States, and 70 to 80% of them hew to the 12 steps". But, here`s a question, does AA work? Or, more precisely, is there medical evidence that it works better than other possible treatments? That same Atlantic article raises new questions about whether AA actually stands up to medical scrutiny. I`ll be joined by the author of that piece as well as the psychotherapist who believes that AA does work, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t drink anything until the First World War. And then, somebody handed me a Bronx cocktail. And I drank it, and the whole place of the universe instantly changed. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This stuff is the elixir of the gods, for heaven`s sakes. It does perfectly marvelous things for you. HAYES: That was a scene from the documentary Bill W, about the co- founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson. Joining me now, psychotherapist and author, Doctor Robi Ludwig and Gabrielle Glaser, who wrote that provocative piece on AA for The Atlantic. Great to have you both here. DOCTOR ROBI LUDWIG, PSCHOTHERAPIST AND AUTHER: Thank you. GABRIELLE GLASER, THE ATLANTIC: Thank you. HAYES: So, I thought the piece was fascinating. There`s some parallel reporting that`s gone on about heroin addiction. Jason Cherkis writes in Huff Po, which has been fantastic. What`s the general thrust here? What`s the case? GLASER: The general thrust is that we don`t know -- we don`t have numbers for how AA works. We have anecdotal evidence for it, which is the narrative that it worked for your uncle, it worked for your grandfather, therefore, it works. But we don`t actually have a success rate. We don`t have AA`s anonymous. It doesn`t -- it`s not studied by academic institutions, because it is anonymous. And, we don`t have randomly controlled double blind science behind it. HAYES: So, we just don`t know as a matter of sort of, empirical testing, what its success rate, and how that success rate might stack up against alternative forms of treatment. GLASER: The best guess is that it`s in the single digits, under 10%. HAYES: Right, but my understanding is that also, that, the best guess for other alternatives is also rather low, right? That like, the baseline that we`re dealing with when we`re talking about people in the groups of addiction, whether that`s alcohol specifically or narcotics and other drugs, is that, we`re dealing with relatively low success rates. And then there`s a question of, how do you even define success? GLASER: Exactly. And, AA defines success with abstinence. And, that`s the metric, that`s the yardstick. And, a lot of people have a really, really hard time to keep to that. HAYES: So, what`s your feeling about this? LUDWIG: I mean, I think it is a very dangerous to put out the idea that AA doesn`t work. Does it work for everybody? No. There`s not going to be one form of treatment that works for everybody. And also, there are many people in AA, and I treat many of them, who not only go to AA in order to achieve recovery, but they`re compensating for, let`s say a mood disorder that needs to be treated. So, in addition to attending AA, they see a psychiatrist, they`re in psychotherapy. So, you know, for some people, maybe AA alone would not be enough, but there are many people in AA, and many therapists who say, let`s work all together. HAYES: Right. Okay, please? GLASER: That`s because you`re in New York. There are a lot of people, where in New York where psychotherapy is accepted, and traditionally within AA, you don`t go to an outside source. You see your sponsor, your sponsor tells you how to do the steps. Medicine is, in many cases, hundreds of people have written to me to say that they were ordered off their meds by their sponsor for their mood disorder. LUDWIG: Well that`s -- that would be concerning. That has not happened with any of the cases, with any of the patients that I treat. But I have to say, there is a power in being amongst a group that is supporting you, that is also modeling appropriate behavior. And yes, it is concerning if a sponsor would advise that. I`ve not heard that. HAYES: So let me stipulate a few things here, because I`m sure there are people watching this tearing their hair out. Particularly, people who have been in recovery and feel like it`s the most transcendent and incredible thing that has ever happened to them. Which is that, like stipulated that literally millions of people credit this program with saving their lives, turning their life around, right? So, I just want to stipulate that, right? The second thing I think people get worried about questioning it, because they feel like it will essentially give excuses to people to do things they shouldn`t do that would be self-destructive. The third thing I want to say is, as a policy matter, we have a question about, like, is this the best thing for people to do? Particularly, as you note, now that Medicaid will be paying for recovery, right? And there`s a real question, I think, about this question of whether AA has crowded out other treatments. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I found whether AA works for some people or doesn`t, there`s a degree to which when we think of recovery, we think of the 12-step and abstinence, and maybe that works for some people, maybe it doesn`t work for other people and it`s hard to get the oxygen and money into the other stuff. GLASER: Exactly. And we know that in a long list of treatments, AA, an assessment of treatments, AA comes out on the bottom, if you`re just doing AA by yourself, alone. Cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, which is helping people resolve the ambivalence they have about using their drugs or drinking, and there are also lots of peer supported groups, smart recovery, practical recovery, women for sobriety that are also -- LUDWIG: But, I don`t know why someone would need to attack AA in order to advise that there are other treatments available. I think anybody who is dealing with an addiction, we have to know and get the message out there, no one treatment is right for everybody. If AA doesn`t work for you, it doesn`t mean AA is a failure. HAYES: Right. But, here`s the reason I think, whether it`s attacking or not, is that there is a nexus between 12-step recovery and policy in numerous places, right? Courts say, you are sentenced to go to AA 12-step recovery, or, we pay sometimes, whether it`s health insurance, or it`s through Medicaid, right, a recovery program, a treatment program is 28 days of this specific type of treatment. LUDWIG: And sometimes those treatment centers have AA within those treatment centers, within those inpatient units. HAYES: Often they do, right? GLASER: By the way, that`s illegal. To be sentenced to AA is against the law. It`s a violation of the first amendment, and in the ninth circuit Court of Appeals two giant cases -- LUDWIG: But, I`m sure you know, too, though, that psychiatrists who came out with a book against AA -- GLASER: Lance -- HAYES: Who`s quoted in the piece, retired from Harvard, right? LUDWIG: Okay, so he also said that alcoholism is not a disease, and if you do nothing it will just get maybe better on its own comparatively. GLASER: That`s what the empirical data say. LUDWIG: There`s also been research that has been highly supportive of how well AA works for people in terms of, you know, resolving their issues, and staying abstinent for up to two years. That there`s a 20% difference if you look at controlled random studies. So it really depends on the quality of the study, how you`re interpreting the study, and your own bias. I would love to know this man`s bias, and where he`s coming from. HAYES: Let me just say this about the state of research because I do think there`s actually more -- there is a little more empirically, from what I`ve been able to determine from the literature, to support AA`s efficacy than is necessarily included in your article. GLASER: What`s supported is the social connection that it engenders. LUDWIG: And that`s huge. GLASER: But the 12-step facilitation is not AA, that`s what the New York article says. That the 12-step facilitation is not AA. (CROSSTALK) HAYES: No, no, just the point that the efficacy is actually coming out of the social connection that is produced by AA and it reinforces, as opposed to the specific steps. But, I think I urge people to read this article. I also urge people to read Jason Cherkis`s amazing piece about heroin addiction, because we are in a situation in which people are struggling so hard to deal with this, and there is a lot of -- a lot unknowns that we are legislating off of in our policy generally. Doctor Robi Ludwig and Gabrielle Glaser, thank you both. That is All In for this evening, the Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END