Mark Everson ran the IRS, wants to bring back the draft and has a love child. Now he wants to be president.

There comes a moment in the career of many government bureaucrats when they sit across the table from a high-ranking elected official — the president, even—and think, You know, I’m just as smart as these guys. “You understand they’re just another person,” says Mark Everson, who served in the Reagan administration and as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service under George W. Bush. “You ask yourself, Do you like this? Do you think you qualify?” The answers he arrived at — yes and yes — led him, after a long period of soul-searching, to the Lincoln Dinner of the Linn County (Iowa) Republican Committee on May 1, where he shared a dais with the only other presidential candidate who showed up, an Indiana contractor named Mike Petyo. Because the hard truth about presidential politics is that while you may be just as smart as the guys who win, you almost certainly aren’t as famous, charismatic or rich.

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