Morsi didn’t get where he is today without rationally calculating his interests and those of the Brotherhood. He probably has many crisply precise conversations every day; that doesn’t make his ultimate goal any less unreasonable. Mussolini might have talked with Obama calmly and impressively — like an engineer, even — about the rail line from Rome to Florence; that wouldn’t have made him any less noxious.

The administration’s reaction to Morsi’s decree has been, “Well, golly, we hope everyone can talk things through.” White House spokesman Jay Carney thundered during his daily briefing, “We have expressed and raised concerns about the decisions and declarations of Nov. 22, and we’ll continue to do that as appropriate.” State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland chimed him with her own memorable condemnation: “It’s a little bit unclear to us … whether the various constituencies have all felt that they’ve been heard and had their views taken into account.”

In its mealy-mouthed non-condemnations, the Obama administration does no favors to the actual moderates who are in the streets of Egypt pushing to get Morsi to back down.

But delusion is hard to give up.