Rush will still be there, but it’s not really “grassroots Woodstock” anymore without her. Now, because of the letdown, it’s more like grassroots Altamont: Plenty of good acts and one great one to close the show, but an angry, angry crowd nonetheless.

The opening-day headliner for the annual CPAC conservative convention February 26-28, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has pulled out, citing state business in Juneau. “We’re obviously disappointed,” said a CPAC official. A spokesman for the three-day confab, organized by the American Conservative Union Foundation and others, said that Palin, the popular former vice presidential nominee, had indicated she would be able to attend but cited “duties of governing” in bowing out. Instead, she will send in a taped message.

The Democrats up there have been grumbling about her being out of state so much. Maybe she figured she could either get away for the Alfalfa Dinner or CPAC but not both and had to make a hard choice. Exit question: Huckabee to replace her? The message, at least, will be similar. And he’s anti-stimulus!