Even many Democrats are now treating the Martha Coakley senate race in Massachusetts as a lost cause. In fact though, a Coakley loss could prove the best thing that could happen to the Democrats.

That's because President Obama and his party are now embarked on a political suicide mission: Enactment of a phenomenally unpopular health care reform bill in utter defiance of popular will.

Democrats seem to believe that if they can just push the ugly thing across the finish line, no matter what unseemly deals they have to cut in order to do that, they will be better off. In fact, they are likely to be much better off if Scott Brown is elected in Massachusetts and deprives them of the 60 votes they need to get the bill through the Senate.

If it fails, public anger will subside considerably. Not only that, but a Coakley loss could convince the president and his party that only a major course correction can spare them from the kind of midterm slaughter that swept them from power in Congress 16 years ago. That would leave them the rest of the year to adopt a more moderate agenda, steal some conservative ideas and run to the center.

Bill Clinton did that after the 1994 upheaval and was handily re-elected. The question is: Could Obama do that and would congressional Democrats join him?

One thing seems sure: If Coakley wins, they're much less likely to try.

Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for Fox News Channel.