JONATHAN COHN FEBRUARY 2, 2011
Here's how Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) explains his big about-face on climate change over the past year:
"The consensus behind the climate change bill collapsed and then further deteriorated with the personal and political collapse of Vice President [Al] Gore," Kirk said in a brief interview last week.
It was Gore's fault! Once upon a time, Kirk was one of the handful of Republicans who believed in climate change. He defended his 2009 vote for the House cap-and-trade bill by stating, "There is now a growing scientific consensus that the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide affects average temperatures." But then he wanted to run for Illinois's Senate seat, needed to fend off a primary challenge from the right, and had to reverse himself.
Most conservatives who have made this shuffle in recent months have at least tried to pretend that those Climategate e-mails were what changed their mind. Blaming Al Gore's marital troubles is a new one.