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Jewish World Review Dec. 10, 2002 / 5 Teves, 5763

Tony Snow

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The mistake of prophecy | George Eliot wrote in the great novel, Middlemarch, "of all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous." This observation leaped to mind when I heard Mary Landrieu won re-election in Louisiana --- because pundits assured those of us in the chattering classes that Landrieu was toast.

The numbers were trending against her they said. Undecided voters move to challengers on election days. Low turnout favors Republicans. Well, the oracles were wrong -- demonstrating again that nothing is foreordained, and that one shouldn't speak from a position of near-perfect ignorance.

A lot of the chin-pulling prognosticators didn't even set foot in Louisiana. In hindsight, political surprises are never surprising: One can always find a good reason to explain an unexpected outcome.

Here's some guesses: Republicans got cocky and a little lazy in the waning hours of the race - perhaps reassured by the aforementioned seers and sages - while Mary Landrieu ran scared and worked hard. Sounds like a good explanation.

But then again, what do I know? I'm a pundit too.

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