"Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive." That was Vice President Biden's answer to the question of why President Obama should be given a second term.
To this bumper-sticker slogan, the demonstrators who sacked the U.S. embassy last week in Cairo delivered their reply for the world to hear: "Obama! Obama! There are still a billion Osamas!"
Yes, Osama bin Laden is dead, but recent events confirm that al Qaeda is alive and well. It launches new attacks on American targets even as the Obama administration buries its head in the sand over what's happening today in the Muslim world. Government Motors, meanwhile, is still being towed along by the taxpayers, losing market share and perhaps heading toward a second bailout.
Bin Laden's death provided a psychological boost for America and for the world, but he was mainly a figurehead by the time he died in May 2011. His death ended neither al Qaeda nor the radical movement it represents, as attacks on American outposts from Tunisia to Indonesia demonstrate.
Libyan president Mohammed el-Megarif has linked al Qaeda militants to the assault on the American consulate there that killed four Americans. Given the fact that the attack included rocket launchers and mortars, he may be on to something. The Obama administration's stubborn insistence, against all evidence, that these were spontaneous protests sparked solely by a low-quality YouTube video is utterly implausible -- risible, in fact.
This from the administration that promised to create a "new beginning" in the Muslim world, and from a president who claimed that his family's Islamic background and his own experience in the Muslim world would on their own "make us safer." Obama's faith in the winning power of his own personality has proven to be misplaced. Under his watch, the Arab Spring has spiraled out of control to the point that he is now confused as to whether Egypt is even an ally.
As far as GM goes, rumors of its survival may be exaggerated. Despite having billions in crushing debts wiped off its books, and being given billions more in special future tax breaks, New GM has lost about one-third of its value in under two years. It continues to lose market share in auto sales, down two points to 18.1 percent of the U.S. market year-to-date, as Toyota and Honda gain. The Obama administration's failure to extract serious concessions from the United Auto Workers union, and its new regulations that slant the playing field toward a "greener" market that foreign automakers dominate, are precipitating another Detroit catastrophe. Even worse, the U.S. Treasury still owns more than a quarter of GM stock. Unless the share price doubles, taxpayers cannot unload their shares without enormous losses.
Based on Reuters' calculations, GM has lost over $600 million on the Volt alone. It could lose more than $1 billion on its European Opel division in 2012. Forbes has speculated that GM will need another bailout in the next few years.
But this would be a dud as a bumper sticker: "Vote for me so that I can bail out GM again and have another failed new beginning with the Muslim world." Much snappier is, "Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."