In his "Talk of the Town" column in next week's New Yorker , posted today online, Hendrik Hertzberg attempted to debunk the conservative claim that the challenge to Joe Lieberman was a "liberal inquisition" connected to the Iraq war.

As proof of his point, Hertzberg hangs his case on reminding us that Joe Lieberman made two fatal mistakes in the last decade: 1) he was not sufficiently supportive of Bill Clinton during the impeachment crisis; and 2) Lieberman did not forego his seat in the Senate in 2000 (while running for VP), which meant if his ticket had won (which it did not), the Senate would have been controlled by Republicans (unless Jim Jeffords defected to the Democratic caucus, which he did).

In addition, Hertzberg calls Lieberman "sanctimonious and hypocritical" for his moralism, reminding us that the Senator divorced his wife while his children were teenagers.

Pretty tough. The long knives are out. I am beginning to wonder if reconciliation will be possible, if Joe survives.