I don't want to be a revisionist in search of the Jerry Ford legacy, but consider what may have happened if he had not pardoned Richard Nixon.
A Nixon trial would have exposed the underbelly of what we now know as the neoconservative movement. Some people who should have been exposed would have been exposed and the thrall of the neocons would have been lessened if not eliminated. Carter would have been elected and he may have been able to serve without the constant backstabbing of the Washington Democratic set and may have had a more effective presidency, resulting in a denial of the Washington big pulpit to Ronald Reagan. Without Reagan, there would have been no Bush I, no Bush II, and no Iraq War, and possibly we would have avoided other conflicts. The U.S.S.R. would have fallen no matter who was sitting in the Oval Office.
Yeah. I liked Ford, too. But, the pardon of Nixon didn't heal the country, it only scarred a scab.
A few other people, such as Taylor Marsh, have posted similar sentiments, so I don't feel completely out in left field (not that I would care being the only howling voice in the wilderness. Been there. Done that.)