Gerald Ford’s Pardon Of Richard Nixon, 36 Years Ago Today!

On this day 36 years ago, probably the most controversial Presidential pardon in US history occurred, when President Gerald Ford, in office just one month, announced a full and unconditional pardon of former President Richard Nixon for his involvement in the Watergate scandal!

The Ford pardon caused an uproar nationally, was bitterly condemned by Senator Ted Kennedy and most other Democrats, and is seen as having undermined Ford’s later bid for a full term as President in the 1976 election, leading to the victory of Jimmy Carter by a two point popular vote margin, with the belief that Ford lost at least five percent of the vote due to the controversial pardon!

It was disturbing to many that others involved in the Watergate scandal did not receive pardons and served time in prison, while the former President seemingly escaped punishment!

However, 25 years later, Senator Kennedy arranged for a special award from the John F. Kennedy Library for former President Ford, and Kennedy declared that upon reflection, what Ford did back in 1974 was the right thing to do under the circumstances!

It still remains an area of debate today however, but it must be said that President Ford’s reputation improved in the nearly 30 years that he lived beyond his Presidency, and he is seen now, a few years after his death, as having served the country in an honorable way, and was indeed a “Profile In Courage!”

Richard Nixon’s reputation has been revived somewhat due to his insightful domestic policies, but the Watergate Scandal and questionable success in foreign policy (once thought to be his great strength) have contributed a great deal to the reality that Nixon still is seen as primarily negative in his impact on American history!

The unbelievable reality though is that after the many failures of George W. Bush, and his abuses of power much greater in many ways than Nixon, all of a sudden Richard Nixon looks a lot less evil than he has been seen in the past! 🙁

What a sad commentary on the decline of faith and belief in the American Presidency! 🙁

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