G.M. CEO to feds: We're tired of being "Government Motors" so how about selling your shares?

They’re preparing an IPO and want the feds’ shares — all of the feds’ shares — to be part of it. Treasury’s considering it, but you know how it is: Once you’ve got hold of something special, it’s … so hard to let go.

“We want the government out, period,” Mr. Whitacre said in comments after speaking at an automotive conference in northern Michigan. “We don’t want to be known as Government Motors.”…

Eliminating government ownership, he said, would be good for employee morale and would improve G.M.’s image. While unusual, selling all the shares during an initial offering is not unheard of. The credit card giant Visa raised about $19 billion during an offering in March 2008. The risk of a large offering, analysts said, is that interest among buyers could wane as the sale approaches, causing the price to fall. A Treasury spokesman, Mark Paustenbach, declined to comment on Thursday. The department issued a statement in June saying that G.M. would control the timing of the offering but that the Treasury would “retain the right, at all times, to decide whether and at what level to participate in the offering, should it occur.”

Mr. Whitacre dismissed concerns by some analysts that G.M. was moving too fast. Many have speculated that the Obama administration, whose decision to help G.M. and Chrysler last year was widely unpopular, wants the offering to occur before the November elections.

Not only would unloading the stock give Obama a windfall to tout to voters vis-a-vis repaying the bailout money, but it’d reassure the public that he meant it when he famously said long ago, “I don’t want to run auto companies.” (It’d also get him free and clear of a certain electric lemon that shall remain nameless.) If you want to rebut the talking point that you’re a socialist, there are worse ways to do it than by putting ownership of America’s largest auto manufacturer back into public circulation. And yet … no commitment yet by the Treasury Department to sell any of its shares. Why not?