My hope is that as Edge becomes more "GISsy"
I agree 100%. That's why 9 is now a "pre-release," because it is becoming more GIS. I encourage a reading of the FAQ, where it sets forth the focus for 9 in the near term as interactive GIS, cartography and presentation. I also strongly encourage all suggestions for what anybody would like to see in pre-packaged, point and click encapsulations of frequently done tasks.
By way of more explanation, why the initial data-centric approach: the fundamental, fully parallel data engine and associated tools came first because you need all that infrastructure and capability first to do really smooth, super-fast and genuinely modern interactive GIS, cartography and presentation. Without that, GUI features get wired up as a collection of special cases that are full of choke points and unevolvable tangles, like a programming epoxy that forcibly glues odd parts together in a way no one can change.
Once you have the Radian engine, well, then anything is possible, easy to do, easy to change and easy to evolve. More than anything the Radian engine makes a genuinely community driven approach possible, because whatever is being done is not cast in special case, programming epoxy. Want something that now takes a few snippets of SQL to appear in a point and click button? Easy.
That does take some good taste and balance, of course, because the last thing I think anybody wants is to see a proliferation of zillions of buttons to each handle a special case. But there, too, a community driven approach helps define the right balance.
As 9 steamrolls forward we will have that balance between exposing full flexibility to let people do whatever they want while also providing plenty of pre-packaged capabilities for those moments when one just wants a point and click. Feedback using Edge is the key.