The market is pretty good at picking winners. Washington likes to take money away from the winners and give it to the incumbent losers that bribe lawmakers.
Even if Asian countries can consistently do that, which I doubt (there's a serious case of survivor's bias here), that doesn't imply that the US can. The American political class is fundamentally incompetent.
After watching the health care discussion on Friday, did anyone think "those are the folks who I want running something important"?
Whenever I see a politician, my reaction is thatt I don't want that person in charge of anything having to do with my life.
Also, although some of the quasi-planned economies (where "winners" were picked and subsidized) in Asia have been remarkably successful, it doesn't necessarily follow that the relationship is causative, or that they wouldn't have been successful anyway, had that selection process not happened.
A lot happened in the 20th century in Asia that keeps it from being a repeatable experiment, much less a model that can be followed elsewhere. The effects of WWII and the consequent rebuilding on Japan, and urbanization and the so-called "demographic dividend" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_dividend) on many other countries in the area, shouldn't be underestimated.
The government can help by protecting productive concerns from the thieves and pirates. Those "winners" can go to hell.
Clearly you didn't see where the AIG bailout money went to at the time, courtesy of then U.S. Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs.