If you want the contrast between Republican inside the Beltway and those in the states, you need look no further than this press conference with the governor and the Democratic senate president from New Jersey:

Another 2016 Chris Christie-for-president campaign ad? Probably.

The stark difference illuminated by the government shutdown does three things (at least) for Christie, from his supporters’ perspective. First, it makes potential Republican challengers from the U.S. Senate look petty and small. Maybe they are more ideologically “pure,” but they embarrass themselves and get nothing done. Second, the Christie-the-Republican-Democrats-love image goes some distance in dispelling the notion that Christie is a “bully” or too “mean.” Hey, he’s the guy who has Democrats gushing. He can respond. And, third, the image of competence vs. dysfunction, grown-up vs. spoiled children transcends the GOP and is equally, if not more, valuable in a general election.

There are plenty of conservatives skeptical about Christie, some justifiably and some based on the same right-wing paranoia we’ve seen play out in the shutdown debacle. But if conservatives really don’t want him as their nominee, they better go find another governor; Christie is liable to make mincemeat of the Senate firebrands.