I voted for Nader in the last two elections. I have also seen him speak and met with him shortly. I really like Nader.
Chomsky is a legend in his own right. Nothing more than that needs to be said.
I have been following Obama since before he announced his candidacy and he was not yet a household name. I was consistently impressed by him up to his vote for telecom immunity. That vote spurred a lot of reexamination by the progressive movement. Arianna Huffington properly summed up the progressive view on this vote, though I cannot find the article.
So what do I make of Nader and Chomskie's opinions on Obama. I think I mostly don't disagree, but I don't completely agree. Obama is not going to be the progressive savior that we wanted. But, then again he never sold himself to be as such.
On specific foreign policy I disagree with Obama. We need to start working with the leaders in South America that are stabilizing the region, not fight with them on minutiae, creating advisories where it is unnecessary. I would like to see him put a stop to the drug war, fight for stronger state power and smaller national power. I would like him to fight the corrupt patent system we have in place. I don't expect him to take a lead on any of these issues, which are very important to me. However, I do expect him to end the war in Iraq, stabilize or economy and return stop our military from acting like a terrorist organization (i.e. torture.)
While I do not think that the progressive movement should vote for the "lesser of two evils" by trying to elect someone like Al Gore who made his last name a household world for Metal Heads by working diligently to demonize (no pun intended) artists and scare parents into believing that Metal was the cause of all of their children's problems. Nor should we be supporting Clinton, who was one of the most rationally thinking conservatives of our time, or Kerry who is just another politician. None of these three men come close to supporting progressive values.
Obama is a little different. I think of him as being "good enough." Obama's mantra goes beyond "vote for me to initiate" and extends to "go out and make change happen yourself." He calls on us to do what's right, not asking us to trust him to make things right.
I see him as being a road map to having progressive politics a part of mainstream America. If his ideals and values can succeed, then we can take it further. If he can show that making peace with Iran is a successful policy, then maybe it can be shown that working with Venezuela is also good foreign policy. If a rational scientific approach can be brought towards stem-cell research, maybe it's not so crazy to do the same towards medical marijuana research. If sustainable energy power plants can produce the power we need to power our houses, maybe a sustainable policy towards manufacturing goods, such as buying hemp products instead of cotton, can also work for us.