QUOTE OF THE DAY…. In June 2009, then-Rep. Mark Kirk (R) of Illinois was one of just eight House Republicans to break party ranks and support the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which included a cap-and-trade system. Exactly one month later, Kirk, fearing a primary loss as he ran for the Senate, reversed course and announced his opposition to the bill he’d just supported.

Kirk, whose reputation for borderline-pathological dishonesty is well deserved, has struggled ever since to explain why he was for combating the climate crisis before he was against it. Apparently, the freshman senator has came up with a new excuse. As Bradford Plumer summarized, “It was Gore’s fault!”

Another Republican blasted from both sides of the spectrum for his record on emissions, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, said he is “not terribly concerned” about taking heat from green groups for his criticism of EPA action on carbon emissions.

“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.

Hmm. When first asked to explain why he voted for a climate bill — which was the right call, by the way — Kirk said it would help “the narrow interests” of his district, but not Illinois overall. Later, he adopted a new line, saying he voted for a massive energy bill after an extensive debate “out of ignorance” and “a lack of understanding” about how the U.S. economy operates. (This was intended to be Kirk defending his own record.)

Now, apparently, Kirk has a third explanation — and it has something to do with Al Gore’s personal life, as if this is somehow relevant.

I’ll never fully understand what in the world voters in Illinois were thinking.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.