Boston Herald column by Peter Gelzinis

It hasn’t hit us yet . . . not really. It’s still about hot fun in the summertime. Yeah, sure, we’re a little annoyed by how much it costs to drive to the beach, but thanks to John McCain, we can all laugh at Paris Hilton’s answer to the energy crisis, delivered in a designer bathing suit from a chaise lounge at a Beverly Hills hotel.

But the closer we get to the first frost, the more we are going to realize that the next president (whoever he is) won’t be able to help us, and the current lame duck will already be halfway to his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

The sting we’ve been feeling at the gas pumps is small potatoes compared to the assault and battery waiting for us by the oil tank in our cellars. And by Inauguration Day in early January, we will already be at least a couple of oil deliveries deep into the winter.

The fortunate among us will find a way to cough up half or three-quarters of our monthly mortgage payment to stay warm. As for the rest of us:

“More than a million people, many of them seniors,” Sen. John Kerry was saying yesterday, “will be forced into making some very painful choices: Do they skip a rent payment for a couple of months to pay for the heat? Do they cut back on the food they buy so they can pay their gas bill?”

Right now, the discussion about an energy policy is still a matter of political style points. John Kerry says that both Barack Obama and John McCain should be talking in far more urgent and concrete terms.

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