Thus, once Morsy won the presidency, the Brotherhood and its Islamist allies made another, even more audacious, run at excluding the NDP. And this time, in order to prevent the courts from overturning their handiwork, they enshrined the old ruling party's political exclusion in the constitution itself. Article 232 of the charter that passed in December 2012 (and was suspended in July 2013) declared: "Leaders of the dissolved National Democratic Party shall be banned from political work and prohibited from running for presidential or legislative elections for a period of 10 years from the date of the adoption of this Constitution." The article helpfully defines NDP "leaders" as "everyone who was a member of the Secretariat of the Party, the Policies Committee or the Political Bureau, or was a member of the People's Assembly or the Shura Council during the two legislative terms preceding the January 25 revolution." It's not surprising that the most intense protests against the Brotherhood began after the passage of the constitution, as NDP-affiliated businessmen and NDP-affiliated television personalities began ginning up the popular anger that exploded on June 30, 2013.
The tragedy of Morsy's presidency, then, is not that he underestimated the ability of the fulul to play the spoiler, but that he overestimated his own ability to confront them. Mubarak's party may have slinked away in the months after February 11, 2011, but it had not disappeared. After all, you couldn't rule for as long as Mubarak did without building a large coalition -- the vast countryside and the hulking bureaucracy are littered with card-carrying members of the deposed ruler's big tent. Morsy's constant talk of purge may have satisfied his supporters, but it could only convince the regime's former cronies that they had no place in the new Egypt.
The disaster that befell Egypt on June 30 -- and make no mistake, the unseating of a legitimately elected ruler at gunpoint cannot be anything other than a disaster -- could have been avoided had the Muslim Brotherhood taken a lesson from their Muslim brothers 5,000 miles away, in Indonesia. In 1998, that country's strongman, Suharto, who had ruled since 1967, was forced to step down by protests remarkably similar to those that brought down Mubarak. But whereas Egyptians tossed their dictator in jail and tore up his ruling party, Indonesians pursued a different, gentler path. Suharto -- a man every bit as corrupt as, and considerably more brutal than, his Egyptian counterpart -- was allowed to live out his days in luxury, and his old ruling party, Golkar, was not only allowed to persist (reliably capturing about 20 percent of the vote in legislative elections), but has been included in every post-Suharto cabinet but one. Indonesians may not have satisfied their powerful desire for justice, but their willingness to forgo retribution and work with supporters of the old regime is what allowed that country's nascent democracy to take root despite its endemic poverty and vast ethnic diversity.
It's not too late, however, for Egyptians to learn the lesson of Indonesia. Now that the old regime and the Muslim Brotherhood have once again traded places, will Mubarak's resurgent orphans extend to the Brotherhood the kindnesses that were not extended to them? Given the dramatic campaign against the Brothers in the Egyptian media, the arrests of Brotherhood leaders, and the brutality meted out to Brotherhood protesters, the answer is likely no. But until Egypt's two old regimes -- the Brotherhood's and Mubarak's -- reach a modus vivendi, the future promises only more revolution and counter-revolution. It's not clear how much more the beleaguered masses can take before they begin to yearn for the grim stability offered by a bemedaled general.