grifter: "A practitioner of confidence tricks." (Wikipedia) "A grifter is someone who swindles you through deception or fraud. Synonyms include fraudster, con artist, cheater, confidence man, scammer, hustler, swindler, etc." (Urban Dictionary)
Maria Konnikova's new book was just released this month: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time . I just started reading it so a more detailed review and more on possible (probable?) applications to the domain of politics will have to wait for a bit. But in the meantime ...
Grifters, aka con artists, get their cons to work by playing to what we want to believe, by preying on our deep desire to trust others. We want to believe that our leaders are doing what's best for us. We want to trust those we elect. And that makes us vulnerable to political cons. Trust me and you will be well is a standard message.
Grifters themselves tend to operate outside the constraints imposed by those common beliefs and desires. They tend to be psychopathic (lacking in empathy), narcissistic (an inflated view of one's self), and Machiavellian (adept at manipulating others).
The target of this (and subsequent posts on this matter) is the Governor's budget. There is no empathy there but there is a lot of because-I-can and considerable manipulation (consider the education "deal" ). My recent posts on how this travesty benefits few but harms many are here and here. Two excellent critiques appeared today in Blog for Arizona by AZBlueMeanie and Linda Lyon. (Track Linda at restorereason.com for more.)
My working hypothesis is that the Governor's budget is a con being run against the Arizona voters, the marks, by the Governor and his collaborators in the state legislature. The cited blogs expose the disconnect between what the Governor says and what the budget actually does.
I'll have a lot more on this after I finish Konnikova's book. Stay tuned.