Study Guide

Senator Karl Mundt in Have You No Sense of Decency?

By Joseph R. McCarthy, Joseph N. Welch, et al.

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Senator Karl Mundt

This is going to sound kind of weird, but Karl Mundt was a career politician in a good way.

Bear with us; we'll explain.

After working as a teacher, principal, and debate coach in South Dakota, he ran for state office on the Republican ticket and won. He spent the next thirty-four years of his life in Congress—five terms in the House and four in the senate—and amassed a long record of legislation and important committee memberships. He appeared on Eleanor Roosevelt's radio show to discuss some ideas he had about realigning the Republic and Democratic political parties to more accurately reflect their real beliefs to the voters.

Adams recognized the Communist threat—he was ranking member of the Committee on Government Operations and its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations—but wasn't obsessed like McCarthy (source).

When McCarthy, in an uncharacteristic demonstration of ethical behavior, recused himself from chairing the hearings about David Schine, Mundt took over, refereeing between a combative McCarthy and a needling Welch. He lost control over the hearings, but it's unlikely anyone else could have done better.

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