"The constituency that votes Islamist in Egypt all the way since 2005 is 70 percent," said Kheir Eddin. That constituency did not just vote for legislators, he said, but also for a constitution. "People elected parliamentarians to steer everything politically for the revolution."
The tone on the Brotherhood's Twitter feed, @Ikhwanweb, has also become more strident and exclusionary. The account claimed on Tuesday that "ordinary Egyptians" saw those massing in Tahrir as partisans tainted by the presence of Mubarak sympathizers, not the same revolutionaries who came out in 2011.
And it boasted that it still maintained the popular edge: "[The] opposition thinks the significance of today is # of Tahrir protestors (200-300k), they shld brace for millions in support of the elected prez."
The Brotherhood's belief in its overwhelming political superiority means that it tends to attribute any defeat to nefarious influences or conspiracy. Haddad, for instance, claimed undercover video posted online showed an opposition politician who had walked out of the constituent assembly describing the draft constitution as the "best ever written" and saying he could not allow the Brotherhood to take credit for it. Kheir Eddin claimed a group of left-wing officials including Supreme Constitutional Court Judge Tahani el-Gibaly and former presidential contender Hamdeen Sabahi had similarly been caught on video discussing the plot to dissolve the assembly and annul Morsy's election results. Like the president, neither was willing or able to provide evidence.
Inside the Brotherhood's rank and file, there seems to be faith in the party line at what is seen as a critical moment. Even among those who are upset with Morsy's blunt grant of immunity for himself and the assembly, none would dissent publicly, said Abdelrahman Ayyash, a young former member who maintains ties throughout the group but opposes the way it has led the constitutional process.
"They're not intending to be dictators. I believe they don't want to do this," he said. "They are thinking these decisions will protect the revolution, they will be a real [defense] to the Supreme Court and the media that is demolishing Morsy's reputation, so they believe that there are a lot of enemies and these enemies will not be defeated by anything but immunizing the [assembly]."
Ayyash said a prominent official in the Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau, its highest decision-making body, told him prior to the current crisis that the Egyptian people are "very satisfied" with Morsy and a majority support his decisions. Other officials cite polls, almost all of them conducted online, that show significant approval of the president's decrees.
In the short term, even revolutionaries reluctantly admit the Brothers' political calculus will probably result in a victory for the constitutional referendum. But in the background of such a triumph, the political environment would still remain more polarized than ever before. Already, the flashes of violence and unbending positions on both sides have given rise to whispered worries about civil war among protesters huddled in Tahrir.
"Not even the pharaohs had so much authority," said liberal leader Mohamed ElBaradei in the wake of Morsy's decree. "This is a catastrophe -- a mockery of the revolution that brought him to power and an act that leads one to fear the worst."