Keep an eye on this one, she’s going places:

“She’s a very tough lady,” says Bryan Preston, her business partner in the daily video blog Hot Air. “You’ve never met a happier person than Michelle when she’s in the thick of a fight. She enjoys the combat of ideas.”

That persona is a far cry from the self-described “geek” of her youth. Michelle Maglalang grew up outside Atlantic City in a Reaganite, conservative Catholic family, was not politically active, and failed a fifth-grade public speaking class. As a college student, she was so naive that when a married Republican congressman invited her to live in his home during her internship with then-Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), she thought it was a generous offer until her parents straightened her out.

Kurtz goes on to dwell on her outrageous pugnacious in-your-faceousness, and doesn’t give Michelle much credit for being anything but a controversialist.

I don’t claim to know Michelle that well, but I do read what she writes, and I follow this site, and that characterization seems like a disservice to her. I know some bloggers and columnists who are nothing but combative controversialists, and them, I avoid. Some pundits are outspoken to conceal a lack of ideas–and that’s obviously not Michelle.

In Michelle’s defense, Kurtz quotes Bryan, and Michelle’s husband Jesse. He doesn’t bother to contact, say, another conservative blogger who hasn’t named a sarcastic award after her. And then he finishes off with a sad little riff about how lonely and alienated she makes herself:

It is as though eternal vigilance is the price of being Michelle Malkin: No slight can go unanswered, no insult allowed to stand. Blogging is an addiction, she says, but not one she is looking to kick.

“You have to accept that you’ll never have many friends,” Malkin says. “It’s a lonely existence.”

To prove that point, Kurtz runs extensive carping from Wonkette’s Ken Layne, lefty blogger Duncan “Atrios” Black, and Andrew “Conservative” Sullivan, who gives out a “Malkin award” for outrageousness, and who seems to think Michelle brings all her troubles on herself:

At the same time, says Sullivan, “she’s been subjected to some pretty horrifying bigotry from the left, based on her gender and ethnicity and ugly stereotypes. You can’t engage in the kind of rhetoric she does and not expect some blowback.”

Weird how those ideas of Sullivan’s just run up against each other like that, almost as if the second sentence was intended as an excuse for the conduct described in the first. It’s just blowback; she has it coming, you see.

Sullivan also calls Michelle “shrill”. That, too, may have been a poor choice of words.

ONE MORE THING: We’re just coming off a major story about the two blushing songbirds John Edwards hired and fired as campaign bloggers. Kurtz’s “Michelle Malkin as Lone Wolf McQuade” piece looks utterly risible when you compare Michelle to those genuinely venomous and bitter characters who just exited the national spotlight, stage left.

UPDATE: Lots of discussion here. Let’s make this a top pick!

UPDATE II: LGF has rounded up some of the nutroots’ calm, reasoned reactions. I haven’t clicked through to them, so tell us in the comments if there’s anything juicy.