I was going to save this for quote of the day but the boss deserves a defense.

So Michelle Malkin successfully rounds out the trifecta of extreme female conservative pundits, following Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter, who believe that I, and Republicans like me, need to shut up and get out of the party. Is this surprising? Not really, given my father’s complicated history with the extreme right of the GOP. But what confuses me is this: Malkin recently posted an item on her blog about how “drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.”…

I don’t know exactly what about me threatens them so much, other than that people are listening to me. Malkin has the No. 1 book on The New York Times bestseller hardcover nonfiction list, but I have nearly twice as many Twitter followers as she does. And trust me, Twitter is more of an indication of where young people are than books published by the hyper-conservative publisher Regnery—which will be bringing you Carrie Prejean’s new book and published one of Ann Coulter’s.

There is a place for the far right in this party, Malkin included, and I respect their right to be heard. But the Republican Party will continue to lose elections unless we start reaching out in a more effective way to people my age and to moderates. Barack Obama won the last election on the slogan “Yes We Can,” and there is no reason why Republicans can’t go forth and win elections with equally positive messages. We will not get anywhere by continuing to sell hate and fear. Of course, there is always going to be a fraction of the GOP that is going to respond to that, but at some point we have to start facing the reality that hate and fear will only get us so far. Those emotions are not sources for inspiration of joining anything, let alone supporting a political party.

Laying aside (a) the glaring error of imputing Pelosi’s quote about un-American activity to Michelle, who was quoting her ironically, (b) the arbitrary assumption that Twitter followers are a fair gauge of influence among younger voters, and (c) the lingering question of why MegMac would want to be part of any party that contains a wing she perceives as being devoted to “hate and fear,” this whole line of attack demonstrates how fundamentally she misunderstands why so many “far right” Republicans don’t like her. As I think I’ve said before, McCain’s really no further towards the center than I am; she supports gay marriage, as do I, and she’s conventional on most other core conservative issues (guns, abortion, religion). And yet the base hates her while they, errrrr, tolerate me. Why is that? If the “old guard” of right-wingers is so retrograde, how does a wayward atheist like me end up co-blogging at one of the biggest righty blogs in America? Simple answer: I spend most of my time challenging the left while Meggie Mac spends hers challenging the right, so I have a certain baseline credibility on our side that she has yet to establish. And why would anyone listen to criticism of their own side from someone who doesn’t (yet) have credibility? I tried to explain that to her, both here and on Twitter, but the message simply hasn’t taken — the proof of which is the fact that she’s now tangled with Coulter, Ingraham, and the boss in high-profile fashion and has yet to tangle (as far as I know) with anyone of similar prominence on the left. All the vitriol spilled this week by the Democrats about health-care protesters, all the demagoguery directed at her fellow conservatives, and the thing that sticks in her craw the most is … Michelle taking a one-line shot at her during a public chat?

Which reminds me: I can’t find the transcript, but from what I can recall, MM didn’t say she should leave the party or even that she should shut up. What she said was that Meghan was someone she’d like to hear “less” from, i.e. that she’s overexposed. I leave you to judge whether she’s right. Exit question: If Michelle’s so “far right” and all about “drowning out” voices that sometimes disagree her, how’d Ed and I last this long at Hot Air?

Update: Predictably, Meghan’s column is the number-one story on MSNBC’s hour of DNC propaganda power tonight.