Charles Phipps wrote:
Then again, I think Kirk would have been fine if Starfleet had "mobile Admirals" commanding the fleet "in the field." Sadly, Starfleet just wasn't large enough for that way back when.
Interesting you should say that, because I think that's what his position was supposed to be, in theory. The novels paint the picture of Kirk being offered something of a troubleshooter position that's within the admiralty but still allows enough action that someone like Kirk could be satisfied. In reality, the position turned out to be him flying a desk for two years while Enterprise
was in drydock.
Later, he was commandant of Starfleet Academy, which he probably took because it let him work with Spock and McCoy. By the time TWOK rolled around, he was going through a sort of midlife crisis and didn't think he was capable of commanding a ship any longer, but Spock and McCoy convinced him that it was what was best for him.
As an aside, I don't think Kirk was incompetent as an admiral. Recall that Marrow called him his "best officer," which I'm sure speaks at least somewhat to his performance as a flag officer. He just didn't like it and was clearly better suited for field duty. In the end, the decision to demote him as "punishment" for disobeying orders was the right move, one that I'm sure Starfleet never regretted.