Sorry that you're disappointed by the inability of the GOP to gin up a real scandal or any substantial misconduct to build their campaigns on. I'm sure it seemed like an easy idea from the other side, given how consumed the Nixon, Reagan and Dubya administrations were by such things.
No one is to blame in this. Politicians on both sides have always supported the ISS for the jobs aspect. The fact of the matter is the downturn of the economy AND the so-called "War on Terrorism" (including the Iraq and Afghanistan ventures), took the focus away from the ISS and other related projects. And even though I would like to criticize Pres. Obama for adding additional expenditures (i.e. "Obamacare"), he is simply doing what every other politician is doing: he's prioritizing what the constituents want. And if 51 percent of the electorate wants government assistance at this time, then guess which budgets are going to be cut in favor of a larger welfare budget? Yeah, that.
We never took our focus away from space because our focus was never on space to begin with. NASA's budget in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars has remained more or less steady since the mid-'70s. Its budget was not slashed to make way for welfare spending--that is quite simply a lie.
While I do think our space exploration budget should be higher, I don't think the focus should be on manned travel. NASA gets far more scientific bang for the buck with unmanned probes. It's very expensive to protect our fragile sacks of meat when we go rocketing around.