Everyone is down on Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos right now -- as well they should be. Allegations that they plundered all those millions smack of downright greed, but worst of all was the blatant attempt to steal an election, which was simply tacky. They've been exiled, at least for the time being, to Hawaii, which isn't exactly Elba. You can bet Mrs. Marcos didn't leave her checkbook behind in the dresser drawer.
We tend to be rather forgiving of presidents who go a little overboard trying to stay in power, so it's fairly safe to predict that instead of being hauled before a court to liberate their real estate holdings and any ill-gotten goods, the couple will be allowed to fade into obscurity for awhile and then will gradually emerge on the road to rehabilitation -- their transgressions forgotten.
It may take a couple of years for all this to happen, mind you, but here are some predictions.
The former president will sign a book contract to write his memoirs for a cool million. The former first lady will also sign a contract for her memoirs, which will go for more than $630,000. (Welcome to America, Imelda.)
Ferdinand Marcos' book will be a lively retelling of his years as a war hero and populist president and will include incisive commentary on where the United States went wrong in its policies toward insurgencies, but the book won't actually do all that well.
Imelda's book, on the other hand, will be a smashing success. Not only will she have several chapters on beauty tips, but she will include a lot of advice on household management. This, after all, is a woman who parlayed her husband's $5,700 annual salary into a fortune in New York real estate. Her "dress for success" chapter -- in which she will describe how to spend a million dollars a year on a wardrobe -- will be excerpted in several American women's magazines.
Mr. Marcos' continuing poor health will prevent him from making the rounds of talk shows to publicize his memoirs -- which will contribute to the book's poor sales.
Mrs. Marcos, however, suffering no such impediments, will launch her book tour with an hourlong solo appearance on the Phil Donahue show. He will pepper her with tough questions, such as: "Are you homesick?" She will confess that she is, but that otherwise she and the former president are keeping busy trying to build new lives. She will say that the couple is standing at the ready to return to Malacanang palace as soon as Corazon Aquino stops behaving like the "complete opposite" of a Filipino woman.
Mrs. Marcos also will announce that she and Michele Duvalier are opening a boutique on Rodeo Drive to be called the "Dragon Ladies' Den." Talks are underway for franchising it, Mrs. Marcos will say, and she and Mrs. Duvalier are into heavy discussions about collaborating on a fashion line.
Mrs. Marcos will cooperate with People magazine for a cover story titled "Imelda Bounces Back." The accompanying photo spread will show her sunbathing on her private beach in Hawaii, looking over financial ledgers, pinning her original designs on mannequins and serving tea to her husband on the balcony of their Hawaii mansion.
Mrs. Marcos will use the interview to float a trial balloon: that the couple earnestly wants to move into a penthouse in New York so they can get out of the perpetual Hawaiian sun at least part of the year.
Which they will do, with only a handful of American protesters picketing the apartment building the day the moving vans pull up.
Before long, life for the Marcoses will settle down to your basic Manhattan celebrity routine.
Barbara Walters will interview them at home. Mr. Marcos will publish another book, on Asian foreign policy, and will begin hosting quiet dinners to discuss Asian political and economic problems with American political leaders and opinion makers. They will find the depth and breadth of his knowledge invaluable, particularly on the thorny issue of the U.S. military bases. He will begin appearing on "Nightline," where he will be billed as a commentator on Asian affairs.
Mrs. Marcos will plunge into the Manhattan night life and will be seen regularly at the trendiest discos and most fashionable openings. Photographs of her will appear regularly in Women's Wear Daily and People, which will do another big spread on "Imelda's New Look" shortly after she crops her hair and gets a frizzy.
ABC will option their memoirs for a miniseries titled, "Ferdinand & Imelda: The True Story of the Iron Butterfly." It will beat out a CBS mini-series called "Cory! Cory! Cory!" in the February 1990 ratings sweep, putting ABC's entertainment division back in the ratings race for the first time that year.
NBC's special on the collapse of the Philippine economy will run a distant third.