I'm not sure what all you've read on them, but I'll try to clarify at least a few things. I would certainly disagree with several of your assertions.
For starters, you say "...they don't produce anything you could feasibly use as a source of material for nuclear weapons." Thorium reactors use Thorium as a fertile fuel that transmutes into fissile U233. While the spent fuel does not contain the same ratios of elements as a uranium fuel cycle, it does indeed contain bomb worthy isotopes as well as some longer lived fission and daughter products. In fact, the thorium cycle was used to produce some of the fuel for Operation Teapot in 1955.
You say "...they're far less prone to catastrophic failure..." While it may be the case that thorium reactors have traditionally had fewer catastrophic failures than uranium reactors, it is also true that the statistics are too small to make reasonable conclusions as to the reliability of such systems. To my knowledge, no commercial reactors use a thorium fuel cycle. In other words, all of the thorium reactors are one-off, uniquely designed pieces of equipment with well trained and knowledgable working staff.
There are roughtly 435 commercial nuclear plants in operation with another 63 under construction. There have been on the order of 20 major nuclear accidents over the years. There are only 15 thorium reactors. Statisitcally, thorium reactors might have a worse accident rate.
There is certainly ongoing research into commercial applications of a thorium fuel cycle. Interestingly, as that article suggests, a thorium cycle requires another isotope to get the reaction going so there will always be a need for some uranium cycle reactors. Like P3trus said, even outside of India (where the thorium reserves provide good economic incentive) there are people considering thorium.
Ultimately, the preference for a uranium fuel cycle is a pragmatic one. The nuclear industry has a great deal of experience with uranium. It's true that there is more thorium than uranium, but uranium is hardly rare. It is sufficiently common, in fact, that there aren't even very many estimates of the size of the reserves.
With respect to public opinion, thorium does not offer a tangible difference to uranium other than a change of name. As long as public opinion is against nuclear, that will include thorium. If they turn to support nuclear, the economics still point to uranium.