Transiting Neptune was last conjunct the U.S. Ascendant at the end of Eisenhower's presidency, and the beginning of John F. Kennedy's. The Kennedy aura brought a glamorous new image to the country, and a youthful idealism reminiscent of Camelot. Kennedy created the Peace Corps, boldly confronted the Soviets over Cuban missiles, and set the prestigious yet attainable goal of landing a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. Kennedy also embodied the darker side of Neptune with his secret love affairs, his entanglements with the CIA, and ultimately, his mysterious assassination.
Transiting Uranus crossed the U.S. Ascendant three times during 1976 and 1977. This period saw the election of Jimmy Carter, and his first tumultuous year trying to get along with the Washington insiders. Uranus represents the independent, even revolutionary element, and Carter was chosen by the people to overturn what was popularly perceived as a corrupt coalition of Big Business and elected officials. Gerald Ford, chosen by the discredited Nixon to succeed him, was thrown out, and widely viewed as an unhealthy continuation of bribery, deceit, and the unconstitutional power plays of the Nixon era.
Carter was supposed to bring a revolution by restoring confidence in
government. Yet Carter could not make enough allies in Washington among the media, Congress, or the bureaucracies. In this case, the Urananian vibration on which Carter rode to power proved to be too independent, too feisty with the entrenched political system to allow him to stay.
Contrast this to what happened when transiting Saturn was conjunct the Ascendant during Reagan's first years. Reagan's winning style and communication skills allowed him to forge alliances in Congress that paved the way for bipartisan approval of major tax legislation. His anecdotal story-telling and friendly Aquarian charm smoothed his relations with the press, and in general, Reagan demonstrated how to cooperate to get things done. A Scorpio Ascendant represents the coalitions of power that rule the country, and when Saturn comes around, the tendency is to build structured security through teamwork, or by sharing responsibility with others. Uranus is disruptive, and a President who personifies this planet will quickly find himself butting heads with the status quo.
Saturn is the status quo, and the President who evokes this energy will survive and thrive. The so-called "Reagan Revolution" was successful because it externalized and structured the corporate power that rules the country from inside the Beltway. Reagan gave a legitimate form to the coalition of business investors that makes its influence felt through its lobbying efforts.
Previously, Presidents Eisenhower and Coolidge were in office when transiting Saturn was conjunct the Ascendant. Both worked closely with the business community, and presided over a country which prospered through steady economic growth. Coolidge, Eisenhower, and Reagan all represented conservative, stable government, and gave a lasting impression reflective of Saturn conjunct the Ascendant, and transiting through the first house.