As if he needed to burnish his already very liberal credentials, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has been named Most Valuable Senator of 2012 in The Nation's annual Most Valuable Progressive Honor Roll, which the lefty magazine been publishing for nearly a decade.

Merkley joined a list that included  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT.),("The most Valuable Progressive") and Stephen Colbert ("The Most Valuable Educational TV show). Merkley, says The Nation:

"has pushed hard for crackdowns on Wall Street abuses and for aid to Americans struggling to keep their homes. As a key member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, he's battled to increase spending on vital infrastructure projects and worked to prevent the closing of rural post offices. Above all, Merkley is fighting to "Fix the Senate Now." Increasingly frustrated by the Republicans' "fake filibusters," which have blocked action on popular legislation, Merkley teamed up with Senator Tom Udall to develop a way to end these abuses."

Last year's winner was Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.