Mubarak was booted out by many because he’s had his office for too long.
But let’s not forget, has he not brought in enough liberty into Egypt? If that nation had been under such a blackout, economically and socially, would many of them have had access to information – such as through the internet or global news networks on cable – and learned that a people can do such a thing, that they can be so empowered? Think of why the USSR fell apart in 1989 but China did not in 1976: the Iron Curtain over the latter was so thick, propaganda about the West being worse so pervasive, that having no woks and pots to cook in while you make substandard steel had virtually no comparison. If the West is faring better, it was absolutely because they were dogs who needed to be crushed.
The USSR’s leaders felt the same way, but of course, they had Germans staring at what was going on at the other side of an ominous wall. They probably heard a guy proclaim, “Mr.Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” live. By contrast, China’s borders are surrounded by a desert and an even more reclusive State to the North, mountains and desert plateaus on the West, a sea and a bitter section of its population to the East, and more of that sea plus some jungles to the South. Inevitably, no Chinese besides the Triads and the diplomats can see how much better the Thais were doing, they hated Vietnam, and even if they could see past the deserts and mountains, they’d find nothing but rubble in Afghanistan and more of the same grasslands in Mongolia that they’ve known for millenia were there.
So in short, it’s not that Mubarak opened the gates to his own downfall; it’s just that he wasn’t as despotic as he’s being made out to be. He did, after all, modernize the country. See those ironic images of the Egyptian military using “our” M1 Abrams tanks? It was under his (admittedly despotic) reign that the country forsook its ties with the Soviet Union and opened itself up to American goods, Western TV, cheap car insurance quotes, and eventually, mass tourism.
He is despotic still, just not as much as some people would want you to believe. And when the West hails him for his peaceful dealings with Israel, safe to say it hasn’t been as bad as when the US was doing it by itself in Pinochet’s Chile, Peron’s Argentina and Marcos’ Philippines.
But that friendly relations is at the end of what’s causing his downfall. To be sure, many Egyptians want and deserve the political liberties and freedoms that the global information network allowed them to see.