Really? Courageous?I was angry at Ford for the pardon he gave Nixon but looking back he did the right thing. A courageous act for the nation.
We were told that we were too weary to go on and see justice done, and that it just needed to end. How weak would that be were it true - too tired for justice?
Sorry, but I prefer justice, especially in a case like that. What message did it send? I don't think Reagan had much reason to worry about any repercussions when he broke the law in a much bigger way. A similar message was sent when Oliver North was given immunity for what he had done. People should feel safe breaking the law in the White House or for it - unless they are named Clinton.
Letting Reagan walk was pretty much all Cheney and Bush needed to see to be even bolder. Likewise with their pardon of Libby, which sent the same message as the North thing.
Do you think that you would be pardoned for breaking the law? Probably not. Nor should you be. Nor should Nixon have been. How do you feel about the moral foundation of a legal system that applies only to some? Do you respect it? It seems you do.
Anyway, the cat is way out of the bag now in large part due to that first sin against the rule of law with Ford and Nixon, and presidents understand by a now firmly established precedent that they are above the law - conservative ones, anyway.