Who Are the Commissioners?

If you read English naval history, you are sure to run into a reference to The Commissioners for Executing the Office of Lord High Admiral.  Your first reaction is likely to be something like, “Huh?  WTF?  Why couldn’t the Lord High Admiral execute the duties of his own office?  Lazy, much?”

The way it worked, as I understand it, was like this:

–Some of the time, there was no Lord High Admiral.  Hence, it was the duty of the Commissioners to do what a Lord High Admiral would/should have done if such an individual had existed.

–At other times, there was indeed a Lord High Admiral, but his role was purely ceremonial, and the Commissioners were the ones who actually performed the duties of the office.

–And at still other times, there was indeed a Lord High Admiral who did the admiral-type work.  I’m not sure whether in these cases, the Commissioners were still there to serve as assistants, or whether the Commission was temporarily suspended during the tenure of such admirals.

It strikes me that there is a certain parallel with the current situation in the US vis-a-vis Joe Biden.  One key difference being that the English people knew who the Commissioners of the Admiralty were.  Yet while it is clear that Biden is getting a significant degree of direction and ‘help’ in executing the duties of his office, we in America today don’t have a good understanding of who these helpers/directors might be.

I don’t think there’s anything like a formal  “cabal” for telling Joe Biden what to do.”  Much more likely, we have a loosely-coupled set of influencers, with power even greater–much greater–than typical of a president’s inner circle.  Who are these people?  Barack Obama, certainly, and many members of the Obama administration: there is some truth to the statement that the Biden administration has really been the third Obama administration.   Doctor Jill Biden, playing the role of Edith Wilson.  Ron Klain.  Susan Rice.  We can only guess who else, because the influencers are not a formal organization from whom transparency can be demanded. It is clear also that Biden is greatly influenced by prominent media figures and academics–clearly, he believes that it is very important to stand in well with the Ivy League:

“Lemme tell you something,” Mr. Biden says, with a clenched jaw. “There’s a river of power that flows through this country. . . . Some people—most people—don’t even know the river is there. But it’s there. Some people know about the river, but they can’t get in . . . they only stand at the edge. And some people, a few, get to swim in the river. All the time. They get to swim their whole lives . . . in the river of power. And that river flows from the Ivy League.

Like many social climbers, Biden also cares a lot about what ‘Europeans’ think.

Another major difference between our present situation and that of the administration of the Royal Navy:  Although the damage that the Commissioners of the Admiralty could do though mistaken decisions was quite substantial–ships sunk, sailors lost, colonial possessions lost, possibly in the worst case an invasion of England itself–there was no danger that a bad decision on their part would destroy the entire world.  That is not the case with the potential damage that could be done by bad advice from out present ‘Commissioners’

Last month marked the 60st anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It is now pretty clear that…despite the previous claims of some of the involved individuals…JFK stood almost alone against the advice of his advisors–including his brother Bobby–who insisted on air strikes and/or an invasion of Cuba. (See The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory, by Sheldon Stern, which makes extensive use of the now-declassified secret White House recordings)  It is also pretty clear that the advisor-recommended reactions would have led to a very bad outcome, quite possibly including general nuclear war.

What are the odds that Biden would stand strongly against the almost-unanimous view of his advisors in a similar situation? I’d say it is pretty low.

Regarding the influence of Obama, @wrtechardthecat wrote at X:

Like the dead hand of an ancient curse, Obama‘s vision, based on a now vanished world, will wreak a path of ruin until it finally collapses on the shambles of all it sought to transform…The once unipolar world is fractured — and is still fracturing — along two lines: the line of Great Powers, Russia, the West and China; and the line of civilizations, Islam and the West. Biden, now over 80, cannot hope to retrieve things in an Obama fourth term…

In less than two years, Biden and his ‘Commissioners’ have done tremendous damage to the United States and the world.  It is hard to imagine that any future Democratic administration would not also be heavily subject to the influence of Obama and the other ‘commissioners’ I mentioned above, leaving aside only Doctor Jill Biden.  The best hope of minimizing this damage lies in the potential for a Republican House and and Republican Senate.  True, many of the candidates are not what we would wish.  But ‘the best is the enemy of the good’, and the issue of the moment is not establishing ideal policies but rather avoiding multiple catastrophes.


See also:  Commissioner Doctor Jill Biden