The choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate has been an uncomfortable development for Oregon's senior U.S. Sen., Ron Wyden. In 2011, Wyden co-authored a Medicare reform proposal with Ryan that was criticized at the time because it introduced competition and choice as part of Medicare reform that some thought was an attempt to gut the system. The brickbats tossed Wyden's way multiplied when Romney chose Ryan and the Wisconsin congressman's Medicare plans got even more attention.

A more reasoned exploration of Wyden's approach to Medicare, his approach in general, and the otherwise sorry state of Congressional behavior appeared today in The New York Times. In a column called "The Last Bipartisan," columnist (and former Times executive editor) Bill Keller, paints Wyden not as a Judas to the Democratic Party, but as a collaborator, in the best sense of the word.

"Nowadays, Wyden is like the Amur tiger or the ivory-billed woodpecker — if not the last of his breed, at best a very endangered species. Still, he persists in cornering colleagues who would disagree with him 95 percent of the time — Judd Gregg, Dan Coats, Darrell Issa, Marco Rubio, Scott Brown, Paul Ryan — and engaging them on the 5 percent where they might get something done." Keller writes. "Wyden's reward for collaborating with Ryan is that the Republicans treat him as a trophy and his own party treats him as a patsy."