This means that it turns out that you can cheat an honest man like Gordon if you manage to present yourself properly. The same Gordon who looks at Liz and sees someone who needs to be pushed into getting what she's supposed to get because she is someone who needs to have her destiny guided because she won't do it on her own is sort of defenseless in the face of manipulators like John and Anthony who are able to hit hot buttons to make him do their bidding.
Not, of course, that they give themselves the name 'con artist' or 'charlatan' or 'suburban Machiavelli.' The second factor that must be considered is that John thinks that he's the straight-shooter salt of the earth friend to everyone that the public falsely believes him to be and Anthony looks in the mirror, sees the sunken-chested and heartless whining imbecile we see and thinks he's the go-getter he's said to be. After all, the best con men in the world always end up being their own best mark.