Monday, January 17, 2011

The Rainmaker Passes

Keith Davey, Liberal “Rainmaker” dies

OTTAWA — Keith Davey, the former senator and legendary Liberal organizer, died peacefully on Monday morning, surrounded by his family in Toronto. He was 84.

Known as the “Rainmaker” for his formidable, winning political strategies, Davey came to national prominence in the early 1960s, when he arrived in Ottawa to help bring the Liberal party out of the opposition wilderness and back into government.

“He had a talent for mobilizing and motivating people, for making problems seem readily soluble, for optimism in the face of disaster,” Christina McCall-Newman wrote in her book Grits: An Intimate Portrait of the Liberal Party, still seen as the authoritative text on modern-day Liberal party history.

Part of Davey’s strategic success was also rooted in his ability to learn from sophisticated political innovations that were arriving on the scene in the United State in the 1950s and 1960s — polling and TV advertising in particular.

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