Does Obama campaign coddle child abusers?

Quin Hillyer Contributor
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Scott Surovell seems to have a rather blasé attitude about child rapists. Scott Surovell was one of only a handful of Virginia legislators to vote against a bill to stiffen penalties against adults (over age 18) who commit sex crimes against children under age 13. And Scott Surovell, a Democrat from Fairfax County, is an official member of Barack Obama’s “Virginia Truth Team,” a group of Virginians who are tasked with representing Obama in the media as campaign surrogates.

In fact, Surovell the surrogate is one of six Obama Truth Team members who voted against HB 973, which “imposes a mandatory minimum life sentence for rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration of a child under the age of 13 when it is alleged in the indictment that the offender was 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense.” This is the same Obama campaign that has spent all week somehow trying, dishonestly, to link opponent Mitt Romney with a stupid rape-related statement by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin. The others are Delegate Jennifer McClellan and State Senators Mamie Locke, John Edwards, Louise Lucas and Adam Ebbin.

Their position was so extreme that it didn’t even come close to a majority within their own party, much less within the whole state legislature. The bill passed 83-12 in the House and 31-8 in the Senate.

This was hardly a bill meant just for show, to solve a non-existent problem. In 2010 and 2011 combined, only 10 out of 228 child rapists convicted in the state of Virginia were given life sentences. The median sentence for these heinous criminals was only 13 years — even though this is a type of crime for which recidivism rates are high. Worse, amazingly and sickeningly, six of those convicted served no post-trial prison time at all.

One wonders how anybody could possibly condone anything less than a life sentence for such inexcusable crimes. And one wonders if Obama can defend having such morally blinkered legislators serve as official members of his campaign team.

Then again, maybe this whole game of “gotcha” isn’t fair. Maybe it’s not fair to tag Obama with the idiocy of his surrogates. If not, then it’s even less fair to tag the Romney campaign with some sort of guilt by association with a Senate candidate they have nothing to do with and whose idiotic statement was quickly denounced by both Romney and running mate Paul Ryan.

It could be that all of this is an unfair distraction from issues directly related to the candidates themselves, such as the horrid state of the economy after nearly four years of Obama’s policies. Or the explosion of national debt. Or the rampant misuse of executive orders to grant amnesty and destroy welfare work requirements.

But if campaign associates are fair game — and if liberal columnists across the country are going to used pretzeled logic to breathlessly tie Romney and the whole Republican Party to Todd Akin — then Obama really must answer for Surovell the surrogate and his cohorts McClellan, Locke, Lucas, Edwards and Ebbin. Compared to them, Messrs. Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish and Short were models of beneficent wisdom.

Quin Hillyer is a senior fellow for the Center for Individual Freedom and a senior editor for The American Spectator.