WAITING FOR HILLARY…. Watching coverage of the Democratic convention earlier, Atrios noted, “CNN is informing that Hillary Clinton has to do 15 things simultaneously with her speech, and wise Soledad finally remarked that some of these things may be contradictory.”

It is, to be sure, a reminder that what passes for political coverage at major news outlets is mind-numbing. But it also points to the fact that expectations for Hillary Clinton’s speech tonight simply aren’t reasonable, or even fair.

The Washington Post’s Marie Cocco had a good item today, noting that the senator who almost won the Democratic nomination will be in an untenable position on the dais tonight.

Hillary Clinton will be damned if she looks too methodically perfect, too much the purveyor of practiced routine and not enough the cheery personification of enthusiasm. She’ll also be damned if she’s too exuberant, too obviously raising her voice in unbridled exhortation for the team. She will either be deemed too cool or all-too-cagily warm.

Clinton can’t win tonight. But then, she knows that.

At this point, if the media’s pre-coverage of her speech is right, Hillary Clinton will be expected to make a powerful case for an Obama presidency. And destroy John McCain. And acknowledge the concerns of her most ardent supporters, while promoting party unity and bringing the various factions together. All the while, every syllable will be scrutinized to measure her sincerity, in part because the media enjoys it, and in part because reporters have nothing else to do.

No pressure.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.