Substance over style. Facts over flim-flam. Gingrich over Romney.

The individual has been, and will forever be, elusive: the “perfect candidate.” Virtually all past presidents have checked in with varying pieces of personal “baggage,” some openly, others secretly kept from the national bellhop’s attention.

Gingrich is no exception. Still, there’s a growing sense this DC-experienced hand is the sharpest knife in the GOP drawer. In our history, we’ve seen that extraordinary times do need the “extraordinary character” to be put in charge. While Gingrich is no Churchill, he appears to be a kind of political Patton. Rough edges in personality, perhaps, but decisive, aggressive, and incisively intelligent about most things nationally and internationally political.

Watch him closely in the continued debates. This guy appears focused in battle, fast to respond to his shifty enemies, and gives as good as he gets, with unassailable facts.

And, more often, we’re seeing Gingrich prevail. That, for starters, is resonating with millions of us, particularly with old vets. Here it is, some 147 years after Lincoln put (reluctantly) scruffy-looking, farm-boy Grant in charge of the great Army of the Potomac, to do the job a succession of past commanders could not. Grant’s detractors flitted around Mr. Lincoln’s ear, telling him, “. . . Mr. President, Grant drinks . . .” “Yes,” Lincoln told them, “but he fights.”