By Editor-in-chief
updated 1/2/2007 2:04:22 PM ET 2007-01-02T19:04:22

Should we pardon the pardon? That’s the question Americans are asking themselves as Gerald Ford is eulogized and laid to rest, his legacy and singular presidency left to history.

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In pardoning Richard Nixon on Sept. 8, 1974, the nation’s 38th president hoped to move the country beyond the wounds of Watergate and minimize damage done to Nixon and his family. Ford was tending to his own future, too. “I had to get the monkey off my back,” Ford wrote in his 1979 memoir, “A Time to Heal.”

“Pardoning Nixon was the responsible thing to do as it allowed the bitter dissentions regarding Watergate to be left behind and to focus the national energies on more important things than trying Richard Nixon, such as beating inflation and the Soviet Union,” said Philippe, an online writer at Ford’s legacy was a hot topic at the issues-based community Tuesday.

“It was the wrong thing to do,” wrote “ctbob” of the Nixon pardon. “While there has always been distrust of politicians and the power they have, the Nixon era put this country into a downward spiral as it relates to politics from which in my opinion it has never recovered. Perhaps a pardon after he was convicted, if that was to happen, would have been appropriate. Having an ex-president in jail, even Nixon, may be too much.”

Jonathan Bechard, an independent voter from Washington State, said the pardon was necessary despite Nixon’s wrongdoings. “If Ford has let the situation go on, with trials and punishments, etc., it would have deadlocked the news media and the Congress. It would have inflamed partisanship …,” he wrote at “All in all, Ford did the right thing because this country had to move on, despite its desires for justice and retribution.”

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