Four years ago I linked in this space to Tocqueville’s comment about the fevers that seize the American mind at election time. I think of that comment, nowadays, every time I read Richard Stern over at The New Republic. A few months ago he wrote, preciously, that he had lost his respect for McCain (can’t find the TNR link); a few weeks ago he decided that McCain is senile; last week he was scandalized that two pundits did not share his precise reaction to the vice-presidential debate (appalled by Palin, impressed by Biden). And now he says that Ayers should not be attacked because, well, he’s a delightful dinner companion. I hope that once the election is over, Stern will recover his senses, assuming he once had them.