Morsi did have another excuse for seizing power last week: The timing was good. Because he helped broker a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, the White House lavished praise on him. Before the limelight dimmed, Morsi seized the moment to announce that his will is the supreme law of the land.
On the New Republic's website, Trager posted a devastating condemnation of Morsi's apologists under the headline "Shame on Anyone Who Ever Thought Mohammad Morsi Was a Moderate." Trager's one error is he assumes that, after Morsi's latest power grab, no one could possibly still think Morsi's a moderate after Thursday's decree.
But that's exactly what many still believe. For instance, on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Time magazine's Joe Klein spoke for many inside the Beltway when he celebrated Morsi's role in the cease-fire as a "wonderful sign for the future" because it showed he and the Muslim Brotherhood are "moderates."
Bear in mind that even as Morsi was pocketing praise from the West for yanking Hamas' collar, Mohammed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, made it clear that war to liberate Palestine remained its goal, once Muslim unity is achieved. "Jihad is obligatory."
Apparently, "moderation" in the Middle East has been defined down to not wanting to wage war on Israel right now.
On Monday, in response to protests, Morsi met with members of the judiciary. Some reports say he walked-back his declaration of supremacy, but that is far from clear. He reaffirmed that the courts cannot veto the constitution being written by Morsi's Islamist pets. Is there any doubt that the constitution will ratify Morsi's dictatorship?
Morsi went to prison to defend the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamist ideology. He rose through its ranks not because he was a moderate, but because he was committed to the cause and knew how to play the game. The stakes of the game have changed, but anyone who thinks he's not still committed to the cause is getting played.