George Eliot wrote in her great novel Middlemarch, "of all forms of mistake, prophesy is the most gratuitous."

This observation leaped to mind when I heard that Mary Landrieu had won re-election in Louisiana because pundits and observers had assured those of us in the chattering classes that Landrieu was headed for certain defeat.

The numbers were trending against her. Undecided voters move to challengers on election days. Low turnout favors Republicans.

Well, the oracles were wrong -- demonstrating again that nothing is foreordained. It also proves that one shouldn't speak from a position of near-perfect ignorance. A lot of the chin-pulling prognosticators never set foot in Louisiana - thus surrendering some prime dining opportunities in New Orleans.

In hindsight, political surprises are never surprising: One can always find a good reason to explain an unexpected outcome.

I'll hazard some predictions here: 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 good. But then again, what do I know? I'm a pundit too.