At this point, we don't really know if Morsi is on a path to installing himself as a "new pharaoh" or whether he is genuinely trying to build a more inclusive Egypt.
Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
"I am the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, clothed in immense power!" one can imagine Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi thinking after his jaw-dropping power grab these last few days.
Of course this is parody of the words roared by President Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg's stunning film, Lincoln, as the 16th American president ground down by a four-year, bloody civil war spent the entirety of his political capital procuring Constitutionally-based freedom for millions of American slaves.
At this point, we really don't know if President Morsi is actually planning to install himself as what Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei has called a "new pharaoh" -- or whether he has committed to an inclusive democratic vision for Egypt which he believes requires extraordinary measures, much like those Abraham Lincoln took while manipulating pols of his day, procuring votes through patronage and threat.
The fact is that while Morsi has declared himself, at least for the moment, the maker of law, the implementer of law, and the overseer of himself who makes the law, his rhetoric is highly inclusive. He has frustrated many in the Muslim Brotherhood by not moving to establish more of a theocratic state and not moving against other of the newly established political parties and movements in the country. At a public level, Morsi says he is acting on behalf of all Egyptians -- not just those who are tied to the Brothers.