I figured they would — but not before the Senate’s even voted on its own bill. Why not wait, threaten, and pile up as much negotiation leverage as you can? Either Pelosi’s already put the fear of god into this guy or he’s as big a sucker as Bayh, Lincoln, and the rest of the unbribed Blue Dogs are.

So goes the last, best chance of stopping the bill.

In the inteview, Grijalva confirmed that House Dems were beginning to discuss the idea of revising the Senate bill in conference to move up the implementation date for insurance coverage and make it more in line with the earlier date in the House bill.

I asked Grijalva if he could support the bill if such a change were made, even if it lacked a public option or other similar concessions sought by liberals…

Asked if he was suggesting that he’s open to supporting such an outcome, Grijalva answered in the affirmative, but insisted that he would have to evaluate the changes in conference before making any decision. He said House liberals would continue to push for a public component and a repeal of the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies. And he demanded that conference negotiations not merely “rubber stamp” the Senate bill.

“We need a win on our side of the aisle,” Grijalva said. “That’s very important politically.”

Is there anything left in this bill that’s not about political face-saving? Nelson needed the Medicaid bribe, Reid needed it passed by Christmas, and of course the bill itself needs to be passed because … it’s “very important politically.” Sean Trende saw it coming from a mile away:

To begin, very few of the progressives are likely to kill the bill, just as, at the end of the day, Feingold, Sanders and Burris all voted for the bill. The impending retirements of Congressmen Tanner, Gordon, and Baird have probably given Pelosi a few extra votes to play with. Moreover, a public option-less bill gives some of the less conservative “noes” some cover to vote yes; Democrats like Adler (NJ-3), Boccieri (OH-16), Davis (AL-07), and Teague (AZ-05) come to mind. This could offset losses among the progressive caucus.

I’m also guessing that there were ten-to-fifteen Democrats who voted “no” who were available for the Speaker if she really needed them, or wanted them badly enough. Given the buy-offs of Senators Nelson, Sanders and Landrieu, it is pretty clear that no price is too high for the leadership and the White House…

Their only hope for a good outcome is that the bill passes, and Obama somehow convinces the nation over the course of the next year that it was a good thing, that unemployment declines substantially, and that his popularity rises. This isn’t particularly likely, but it is the only path that offers some hope of survival for Democrats in marginal seats.

Translation: It is indeed very important politically that something pass, which is why even a fight fight fightin’ nutroots hero like Grijalva is prepared to break the left’s heart. As for the other wing of the caucus, Stupak’s Blue Dog, expect a few dozen of them to sell out too — if Pelosi needs them — once they get a bill without a public option in front of them. Stupak’s talking tough and he’ll surely vote no himself, but a lot of the pro-life votes he attracted last time were likely due to the fact that Pelosi simply didn’t need them and could afford to give them cover. She may need them now. Repent, for the end is nigh.