Rolling Stones "A Straw Vote Only Shows Which Way The Hot Air Blows"
by O. Henry

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"A Straw Vote Only Shows Which Way The Hot Air Blows"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: An Irishman, Barney O'Connor, wants to be a ruler of men, so he decides to take over a country in Latin America. He hires Bill Bowers as his army and cabinet, and the two sail to the chosen country, where they set up their headquarters in an adobe house in the port town. From time to time a native visitor spends hours talking privately with O'Connor in the back office of the house. One day Bill asks O'Connor to explain how he plans to take over the country. O'Connor tells him that agents of his revolutionary movement are already at work throughout the republic and that they are already on their way toward the overthrow of the tyrant Calderas. Later, while Bill is explaining the whole situation to a friend, he relates the experience as O'Connor had explained it:

". . . The Liberal party is bound to win. On our secret lists we have the names of enough sympathizers to crush the administration forces at a single blow."
"'A straw vote,' says I, 'only shows which way the hot air blows.'"