Eliot Spitzer isn’t the Great Pumpkin these days, so much as he is Ichabod Crane. As the emboldened GOP hurls flaming dittoheads at him over his plan to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants (illegal or non), Spitzer has galloped blindly through the corn maze, now voicing support for the federal Real ID, which gives his pro-immigrant supporters a fright. Here’s what gives me the night terrors (as reported in this AP story):

The Bush administration and New York cut a deal Saturday to create a new generation of super-secure driver’s licenses for U.S. citizens, but also allow illegal immigrants to get a version.

And it echoes in the brain…

The Bush administration and New York cut a deal Saturday… The Bush administration and New York cut a deal… cut a deal… cut a deal…

That’s when where I sit upright in bed shrieking, thinking about NYRI and about the Great Lakes.

But lost in all of the outraged posturing over the issue is whether or not Spitzer ever tried to sell his plan on immigrant ID to the people of New York at all. Dare I ask if Spitzer knows what he’s doing? It’s obvious by now that the man is not a prophet, which is OK. But he’s not a salesman either, which is not OK if he hopes to steer the ship of state. When you remember how easily Spitzer rode in last year, you begin to understand why he’s having such difficulty understanding that he’s got to do one or the other of those things. After all, it’s not like he even had to sell himself to the people of New York. This time, he not only failed to sell his idea, but he failed to awaken New Yorkers on why this should be an issue at all. (I’m beginning to view my primary vote for Tom Suozzi with a little more nostalgia. At least he had a semblance of a “Fix Albany” sales campaign.)

Where Spitzer’s plans for Upstate are concerned, specifically Syracuse… “$20 million for one project?” wonders the Post-Standard’s Dick Case. But why that amount particularly? Why not $15 million, or even $40 million? It’s so arbitrary. Don’t get me wrong — I still thank God that Spitzer hasn’t shown up here with a Richard Florida book in his hand, but does anyone get the feeling he really hasn’t thought about Syracuse all that hard? (See also: Frank Cammuso’s cartoon.)