The public has ample cause to suspect that the buzz surrounding Hillary Rodham Clinton's new book really adds up to summer-blockbuster hype for an imaginary movie -- perhaps titled "Hillary the Inevitable II."
The original script ended sadly for its promoters. Seven years ago this month, polls showed Clinton leading upstart fellow Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, buoyed by perceived support among women. Later, of course, the professed certainty of her return to the White House died in the Iowa caucuses.
Here in New York, cries of "Hill-uh-ree" rise again. Around the Barnes & Noble at Union Square in Manhattan last week, vendors sold "Ready for Hillary" tote bags as fans awaited the first book-signing for her new tome, "Hard Choices."
Looking past the book: The tour, for her fans, marks a rewarding result in itself. Some in the city, however, were quoted expressing disappointment that she didn't announce on the spot for 2016, which would officially have turned it into a campaign tour.
Once the hard-fought 2008 primaries ended, the question of whether ex-presidential spouse Bill Clinton weighed her down became one of the topics of endless analysis by Clinton-ologists.
Now, with the threat of Iraq's disintegration, you wonder if Obama, who appointed Clinton secretary of state, becomes the second president to put her in the spotlight only to burden her with his baggage, if of a different kind. Any foreign policy failures and flaws belonging to the Obama terms are hers to defend or finesse in the days and weeks ahead.
Still, she's made clear her career is her own. As a U.S. senator in 2002, she voted for the Bush administration's Iraq invasion, launched with unfounded claims of weapons of mass destruction.
"I got it wrong. Plain and simple," she says in the new book.
The constant attention always has cut two ways for Hillary Clinton. If her celebrity catapults her to the top of polls and perhaps symbolizes the breaking of a glass ceiling for others, it also causes embarrassment.
When Politico reported that NBC paid daughter Chelsea Clinton an eye-popping $600,000-a-year salary as a "special correspondent," critics were quick to place it in the "corporate cronyism" file. It didn't help that the former first lady so recently drew partisan fire for telling ABC that she and Bill were "dead broke" when they left the White House.
With all that chatter in the air, the leading couple retains rock-star status among the players of mainstream political New York.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo served as housing secretary in the Bill Clinton White House. Mayor Bill de Blasio served under Cuomo, also managed Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign -- and the Clintons attended his inauguration in January. Ex-Gov. David A. Paterson, now state Democratic chairman, stood by her when the presidential primaries turned south, as did Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan).
Sen. Charles Schumer, who served alongside her, remains in office, and her successor, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, has been saying for two years that Clinton should run again for president.
Her previous book, "Living History," came out 11 years ago.
In the end, voters again may face the choice -- hard or easy -- of whether she's lived enough history.