I think you are overemphasizing how often this worked in 3.5.
I didn't say a thing about how often
it worked in 3.5, just how much more it could.
Not every group would optimize to mitigate bad situation streaks with daily resources - where bad situations can arise beyond the players' control through streaks of bad luck (randomness.) In my own group, there was a lot of optimization to this end, that arose almost unconsciously as the group literally gained experience with the 3.5 system. Less system-savvy groups might not, but that's irrelevant to the discussion.
If you are arguing however, that it is not more common to have stacked odds in 3.5 than in 4E, I would go so far as to say you are wrong. Even the very basic figher BAB, combined with treasure based on typical charaacter wealth levels yielded very high hit odds for the average encounter. This is why Power Attack was such a powerful feat in 3.5 - you had attack bonuses to spare.
Attacks/abilities don't have to be 100% hit to qualify as not being random. A single miss would rarely cause an instant wipe. A string
of misses of failed effects however, could be disastrous. In 3.5 this is unlikely to happen because the odds of getting say 5-10 rolls below 3 or 4 is astronomically low. In 4E however, missing 5-10 times in a row because you couldn't roll a 11 or above is orders of magnitude more likely. It's still not likely to happen every time, but the eventuality of it occurring is that much more likely than in 3.5. Remember also that the base chance to hit decreases
as you go up in levels, in 4E.
The reverse is true as well, when comparing defenses in both editions. 3.5 featured a host of 'immunity' effects that typically had to be painstakingly stripped before players' saves could be targetted - which leaves nothing to chance. Extremely high AC builds existed that reduced monster hit chances to 20% or less on average. This is mostly impossible in 4E.
When luck does turn on you eventually in 3.5 is when you can fall back on the numerous 'luck-free' solutions I mentioned before. Thus the 'swinginess' of 4E over 3.5 is a combination of these factors.
You are correct however, in stating that this generally only happens after you go up a few levels. The lower levels in 3.5 were a kind of Russian roulette with D20s, but not necessarily any more so than in 4E.
I dislike this aspect of the 4E game because it's a loss of control. Players are held hostage by the D20 that much more, unable to compensate to the same degree with superior choices. Already I've found myself gravitating unstoppably towards the few choices in 4E that can mitigate bad luck streaks and 'swinginess' - sustained auto-damage, healing solutions and Effect based powers mostly.