Burn the Boats

When Failure is Not an Option

Host, Ken Harbaugh, interviews political leaders, influencers, and other history makers about the choices we confront when failure is not an option. Choices like Alexander the Great made when he landed his troops on the shores of Persia and ordered his men to burn their boats.

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Evergreen Podcasts Earns First-Ever Ambie Nomination for 'Burn The Boats'

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Latest Episode

Miles Taylor: Inside the Trump White House

In 2018, Miles Taylor anonymously authored a New York Times op-ed titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration”. At the time, Miles worked in a senior role in the Department of Homeland security.

Eventually, after Trump asked him and other officials to break the law, Miles quit. He decided to author a book, again anonymously, titled A Warning, which described in detail the morally gray, and sometimes blatantly illegal orders that came from the President.

In the lead up to the 2020 election, Miles felt it was important to reveal himself as the anonymous author of both the op-ed, and the book.

Now, he’s created the Renew America Movement, an organization dedicated to giving a voice to the ‘rational’ republicans who won’t subscribe to the right-wing extremism of Donald Trump.

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Amy McGrath: The ‘Honor Bound’ Memoir

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:48
Amy McGrath talks about her new book, which details her time in the military, her tough political campaigns, and the challenges we face as a country.
Listen to Amy McGrath: The ‘Honor Bound’ Memoir

Kris Goldsmith: PTSD, Less-Than-Honorable Discharges, and Domestic Violent Extremism

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:47
Kris discusses PTSD and his suicide attempt, his battle to amend his less-than-honorable discharge, and his work fighting domestic violent extremism.
Listen to Kris Goldsmith: PTSD, Less-Than-Honorable Discharges, and Domestic Violent Extremism

Chris Meagher: The President’s Infrastructure Plan

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:46
White House Deputy Press Secretary Chris Meagher discusses the goals of President Biden’s Build Back Better Infrastructure Plan
Listen to Chris Meagher: The President’s Infrastructure Plan

Anne Nelson: The Secret Influence of a Right-Wing Political Coalition

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:45
Award winning journalist Anne Nelson describes the influence of the Council for National Policy, a powerful right-wing political coalition.
Listen to Anne Nelson: The Secret Influence of a Right-Wing Political Coalition

More about the name of the show...

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great led Greek troops across the Dardanelles Straits and into Asia Minor, landing on the shores of Persia. He hoped to finally vanquish his greatest enemy, Darius III - the King of Persia. But Alexander was badly outnumbered. The Persian army assembled to attack and Alexander’s troops began to speak openly of retreat. So he gave an order: "Burn the Boats." He told his men, “we either return home in Persian ships, or we die here.” There would be no turning back.

By burning his boats, Alexander hoped to galvanize and motivate his troops. They needed to fully commit to defeating Darius and the Persians. There was no other way - failure was not an option.

This podcast explores decisions our guests made when they fully committed to something because failure was not an option.

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The Team

Ken Harbaugh

The Host
A former US Navy Pilot & past president of Team Rubicon Global; served as a commentator for NPR; a host on Crooked Media; & a contributor to The NY Times & The Atlantic.

Declan Rohrs

Producer
Declan (He/Him) was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. At Evergreen, he has assumed various roles, including Producer, Editor, and Email-Signature Guru.

Sean Rule-Hoffman

Engineer
Sean hails from Orange Village, OH. He earned a degree in Music Technology with a minor in Electronic Media and Film from Capital University in Columbus, OH.

Isabel Robertson

Senior Producer
Producer, writer, & researcher based in CLE. She's worked on StoryCorps, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, and The Intercept. She serves on the ACLU-OH Board of Directors.