What I find interesting is how Analayo points out the centrality of one 'present experience'
: 'In this way one's present experience becomes an occasion for swift progress on the direct path to realization.'
Soma Thera appears to have this in mind when he offers the four different disposition--that one's present condition should be taken into account when approaching the satipatthana. Following Analayo's arguments, we might assume that the dim-witted or keen-witted person who begins with any one satipatthana is cultivating the same qualities, gaining the same insights and will eventually move in and out of each satipatthana, as he progresses.
Perhaps, we might question if Soma Thera is insisting too narrowly on those definitions. It seems to me that this is what you are asking. I think it is always important that we ask this about any teaching. We must certainly always be on guard against any forms of absolutism. To play the devil's advocate, I'd say that he is offering those suggestions on the basis of many years of experience and contact with different meditators--that he is attempting to be contextually sensitive. So, there is certainly some merit in his argument. But I also think that you are mounting an important argument, for we shouldn't assume that his suggestions are universally applicable.
One last point:
Analayo's reading of the satipatthana really speaks to my own experience. However, I must concede that I can't say for sure if I Analayo has indeed captured the 'essence' of practice or if I am merely projecting his ideas retrospectively to rationalise my own experience. BUT, I don't think this undecidability is a problem. For I think this is precisely how knowledge works--knowledge about any one 'thing' doesn't so much describe what is 'out there' as form, shape, and produce the very thing it purportedly 'describes'.
In other words, I don't think we can insist too strongly on a subjective/objective dichotomy. Nor can we really insist on a teaching describing the dhamma more 'authentically' than others. But this is not to say that we should accept any reading of the dhamma willy-nilly. I say this because what one 'knows' shapes, forms and produces what one 'does' and vice versa. So it is important that we investigate any knowledge claim.
If this is indeed the case--that what one 'knows' shapes, forms and produces what one 'does' and vice versa--then one's 'knowledge' of the satipatthana will shape, form and produce one's 'practice' of the satipatthana, just as much as one's 'practice' of the satipatthana will shape, form and produce one's 'knowledge' of the satipatthana. To this extent, this is why our practice is enriched by debates about knowledge--indeed, this why you and I or anyone can agree to disagree.
In light of this, I'd say that the Satipatthana Sutta is as much 'a platter of options' as it is 'a cohesive program'. It is as much a 'theoretical treatise' as it is a 'meditation manual'.