Companies and assets don't go *poof* in a bankruptcy. In fact, if any of you are even somewhat of a frequent airline flyer, over the last 10 years you likely flew an airline in bankruptcy. Companies operate all the time, sometimes for years, out of Chapter 11. In fact, that is what chapter 11 is all about -- helping creditors get more value from a company by keeping it in operation (only in truly hopeless cases, like Solyndra, is liquidation a higher value outcome for creditors than continued operation).
As such, then, the Obama Administration did not "save" GM and Chrysler, it simply managed their bankruptcy to political ends, shifting the proceeds from those guaranteed them by the rule of law to cronies and political allies. In the process, they kept these companies on essentially the same path that led them to bankruptcy in the first place, only with a pile of taxpayer money to blow so they could hang around for a while.
To this end, the WSJ has a great editorial on the whole mess
In a true bankruptcy guided by the law rather than by a sympathetic, rule-bending political task force, GM and Chrysler would have more fully faced their competitive challenges, enjoyed more leverage to secure union concessions, and had the chance to divest money-losing operations like GM's moribund Opel unit. True bankruptcy would have lessened the chance that GM and Chrysler will stumble again, a very real possibility in the brutally competitive auto industry.
Certainly President Obama threw enough money at GM and Chrysler to create a short-term turnaround, but if the auto makers find themselves on hard times and return to Washington with hats in hand, his policy will have been no rescue at all.
I will refer the reader back to my editorial way back in 2005 why it was OK to let GM die