Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina were conspicuously absent from a Sarah Palin fundraiser in California Saturday—absent not just from the stage, but also from the Alaskan’s speech. Palin was in Anaheim to rally for 19 Republican candidates, and the fact that the state’s two highest profile pols were no-shows underscores Palin’s role in the GOP’s civil war. “Soon, we’ll all be dancing,” Palin told the crowd, atwitter over anticipation of a big victory in November. But despite the party’s optimism, it is struggling with deep fissures, which Palin embodies. Wildly popular with the grassroots, she’s poison for mainstream candidates, especially in a strongly Democratic state like California. Remarkably, Fiorina attended an event with John McCain only an hour away from the Palin event that day (McCain didn’t show at Palin’s gig either).