De mortius nihil nisi bonum

01/02/2007 09:47 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"De mortius nihil nisi bonum."

Say only good things about the dead.

I learned that rule in Latin in high school - and I've broken it ever since.

Jerry Ford was a good, decent, down-to-earth man.

Even in the White House, he fixed his own English muffin for breakfast.

He was a fiscal conservative, but on social issues like gay rights and women's rights - thanks to the influence of his strong-willed wife Betty - he was amazingly tolerant.

And you have to love how he came back from the grave, even before he was in it, to taunt the hapless George W. Bush about the insanity of the war in Iraq.

But, among all the good things we can thank Gerald Ford for, the pardon of Richard Nixon was not one of them.

I refuse to join the chorus of pundits who insist that forgiving Nixon was the right thing to do.

All he did, in my opinion, was enable other presidents to pardon other crooks.

Reagan pardoned Ollie North. Clinton, Mark Rich. And Bush will, no doubt, pardon Scooter Libby.

They say Ford united the country by giving Tricky Dick a pardon.

Nonsense. He could have just as easily united the nation by sending Tricky Dick to jail.

And should have.