I am an old man. I think that I remember that when I was young,
I would read something such as:
The city was honored with a visit by the President yesterday.
Down through the years, however, the powers that be seem to
have implemented this rule:
Capitalize if the person's name follows: I read a biography of
Otherwise, no capitalization:
I am traveling to D.C. to witness the inauguration of the
first woman president. / Some people feel that the president
should support that bill.
I believe all newspapers now follow this rule, even The New York
Times -- which is very strict about such things.
Maybe (probably) it's just my imagination, but I may have
heard somewhere that one reason for lowercasing the word is
that some people in other countries felt it was arrogant to
write: The President will speak tonight. By capitalizing it,
it seemed to give too much importance (or even majesty) to
that office. After all, some people said, other countries have
HAPPY NEW YEAR