I think one of the reasons why NASA has gone to the wayside is because now the US is the only superpower in the world. The spirit really wasn't to explore space, but rather, to compete with the Russians (and probably keep them under tight surveillance).
Unfortunately, I think the only way for there to be regained interest in the space program is for France to start a space program. There's no "hurry" to get anything done becuase we're not competing with anyone.
Admittedly, I don't know how we can renew interest in space without there being a "race" so to speak. Maybe one way is to improve the quality of life for Americans, so that space exploration can be a priority again.