Conservative Consultant Mailed Vibrator to Michele Bachmann

Buzzfeed has an article about the implosion of one of the top conservative media consulting firms, Strategy Group for Media, whose clients included Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, and Newt Gingrich and a large number of Tea Party groups. Here’s one fascinating little tidbit:

And an email thread from May 29 — after the three managers were fired — featured Strategy Group’s former voter-contact consultant P.J. Wenzel making reference to Elsass sending “female pleasure machines” to Bachmann. The emails don’t elaborate on the incident, but one person familiar with the story told BuzzFeed that Elsass had intended to give Bachmann a vibrating head massager to help alleviate her migraines, and that the employee he sent to buy the gift accidentally purchased something that more closely resembled a sex toy — and sent it to her office.

Tyler denied said the item in question was purchased at Brookstone and was not a sex toy, but he declined to provide further information about the product. (Brookstone announced in 2011 that it had begun selling “pleasure objects.”)

The person familiar with the story said the firm successfully retrieved the gift before Bachmann could open it.

That’s probably good news. They may not have gotten it back if she’d opened it.

71 comments on this post.
  1. raven:

    I don’t know why they bothered.

    She is now so mentally fogged up that she wouldn’t know what it is or how to use it.

  2. d.c.wilson:

    Considering how uptight she, I can’t think of a more appropriate gift for her. Maybe after she uses it a few times, she’ll lose that crazy, goggly-eyes look.

  3. Reginald Selkirk:

    You say ““female pleasure machines,” I say rapture wand. Tomato, Tomahto.

  4. busterggi:

    She would never have been able to get it away from her husband.

  5. Giliell, professional cynic:

    Oh bother, could you stop it with the homophobia nad the misogyny?

  6. arakasi:

    Oh geez d.c. How is what you said any different from saying “what she really needs is a good fucking”. I thought we were past that crap.

  7. JustaTech:

    Well, Brookstone does sell some high-end ‘discrete’ ‘personal massagers’. I don’t know how a buzzing machine would help a migrane, but I don’t have migranes so what do I know? Maybe a ‘personal massager’ would help! Still, very un-classy. Also, don’t people usually choose something cheap when it’s a gag gift?

  8. Musca Domestica - on your wall, pooping on your freeze peaches:

    If it really was a “female pleasure machine”, and sent on purpose, it’s not funny, even if it was sent to Bachmann.

  9. ottod:

    What a relief that they were able to retrieve it. I mean, it’s not like she doesn’t already overuse, “God! Oh God!, Omigod!” How much more could we have endured?

  10. tuxedocartman:

    I’m gonna have to agree with Giliel and arakasi @ 5 & 6 here. This whole post just feels kinda creepy.

  11. abear:

    Next thing you know Ed is going to go full Slymepit and post a picture of Bachmann with a foot long hotdog crammed in her mouth!

  12. raven:

    It really looks like the GOP is throwing Bachmann under the bus.

    Her continuous stream of wild statements that are both false and senseless are costing them a lot.

    It makes them look dumb. Or at least dumber. It also cost millions to keep getting her reelected. She outspent her opponent 10 to 1 and she barely won.

    Now she is in serious legal trouble for misusing campaign funds. And I haven’t seen anyone who has bothered to defend her.

  13. Loqi:

    Imagine that. A conservative whose job is to make people enjoy being lied to turns out to be a creepy sleaze. I never would have guessed.

  14. petemoulton:

    “The person familiar with the story said the firm successfully retrieved the gift before Bachmann could open it.”

    So, are they saying that someone interfered with a US Mail delivery? That sounds suspiciously like a federal offense to me.

  15. kenbo:

    Ok, I give up, Ed. What’s so fascinating about it? And please tell us why you think they would not have gotten it back if she opened it.

  16. Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges:

    Prude shaming, slut shaming and general misogyny directed at a female public figure all rolled into one post plus comments. Nice.

  17. timgueguen:

    Sounds like possible sexual harassment to me, not a mistake.. Not that Bachmann probably believes in the concept of sexual harassment.

    The tone of some of the comments here is definitely not good. Bachmann’s attitudes towards many issues connecting with sexuality are problematic, but that doesn’t excuse taking pleasure in her possible discomfort from this event..

  18. timberwoof:

    I know some people, myself included, who from time to time need a good prostate massage to alleviate crankiness. I can see where the charge of slut-shaming comes in, but I don’t see any homophobia. (That’s not the same thing as saying “no homophobia was expressed.”)

    As a migraineur, however, I would not want buzzy vibrating thing near me while I was having a headache.

  19. iangould:

    “The person familiar with the story said the firm successfully retrieved the gift before Bachmann could open it.”

    See that’s an entire episode of 30 Rock right there.

  20. sigurd jorsalfar:

    Prude shaming, slut shaming and general misogyny directed at a female public figure all rolled into one post plus comments. Nice.

    Yep. The tenor of this post and its comments would have been very different if someone had sent the same package to Rebecca Watson. But Bachmann is a conservative so she’s fair game.

  21. Pierce R. Butler:

    Like a good follower-upper, I went to & typed “pleasure object” into the search box.


    Your Search Results for “pleasure object” returned 4 items …

    Barska 18 90×88 Waterproof Benchmark Straight Spotting Scope

    The Benchmark DFS Spotting Scopes are designed to provide an extreme and comprehensive level of spotting pleasure to hunter and nature explorers alike.

    The Travel Scope telescope is perfect for enjoying astronomy on the go!

    Elegant rollerball pen with high precision German refill system and sleek spring clip.

    Methinks Brookstone & I have different concepts of pleasure.

  22. tuxedocartman:

    I can’t agree enough with sigurd @ #20, and ibis3 @ #16. I can honestly say I never expected this from either Ed or some of the other commenters here, and would really like to hear some clarification as to why they think these statements are appropriate.

  23. Marcus Ranum:


  24. dogmeat:

    I would argue that those who actively campaign and legislate to try to control others, force their “faith” and “morality” onto others, and generally try to claim to be high and might and beyond reproach should be publicly criticized for actions that prove their hypocrisy. Those who force women to have children they don’t want, but then push for the women in their lives to terminate pregnancies they don’t want, should be called out for that. Those who claim moral high ground but then are shown to be cheating, lying slugs, should be condemned for their double standard and hypocrisy. “Prude shaming?” I’m sorry, but that’s BS, it’s hypocrite shaming. It’s none of my damn business what someone else does behind closed doors, but when that person publicly attacks others, tries to deny their rights, dehumanize them, shame them, etc., and then they’re shown to be into their own “immoral acts” by their own definition, then yes, their hypocrisy should be publicized.

    Having said that, I don’t see anything that suggests that Bachmann desired anything to do with this “gift,” so pointing fingers at her seems to be uncalled for.

    On the other hand suggesting that an uptight, authoritarian, who infringes on the rights of others (see above), regardless of gender, might need a little “stress relief” doesn’t seem to be to be uncalled for. Bachmann happens to be female, but I wouldn’t be all that certain that Cheney wouldn’t have been a bit less of an asshole if he’d gotten laid more often. Of course he’s a pretty hard core asshole, so was probably too late for that decades ago.

  25. Randomfactor:

    Those idiots! It’s OBAMA’s magic wand she’s fantasizing about, not Hitachi’s.

  26. drizzt:

    I think people missread what Ed quoted… it was meant to send her something «intended to give Bachmann a vibrating head massager to help alleviate her migraines», and instead they sent something to «vibrate», as a sex toy. The funny part isn’t how she would accept or reject it, but the mistake they made… At least that’s how I read it.

  27. dingojack:

    So let see here -
    a) MB’s PR company thought she might like a massager to relieve MB’s tension levels since she is prone to migraines.
    b) The person sent to get such a device, accidently bought something resembling a sex-toy. (Was the purchaser fully briefed? Where was the managerial oversight? Was the purchasing mistake truly accidental?)
    c) They posted it to her office, but realising their mistake, they retrieved (before she could open it) from the mailroom at her office.(Nope, no Federal Offense).

    So what have we learned?
    Michele Bachmann receive a gift of a vibrator (yes folks, you can call it what it is) accidentally (it seems). She never asked for it, nor received it.
    Her PR company are staffed by people who don’t really understand what a migraine is and how to treat it (all those I know prefer a darkened room, low noise levels and analgesics)., and possibly people who aren’t really clued-in to how their actions might look sexist to others (but in fairness that’s not the same as deliberate misogyny and is only at the ‘possibly’ range).
    There is a slight level of irony (very slight) in MB getting a vibrator given her over-reaching concern about what other people do sexually (which is what leads me to question the ‘accidental’ nature of this incident), but what she may or may not have done with the gift (had she received it) is not really any of my concern. I’m not going to waste time on imagining such things..

    All in all. A slightly titillating story with a slight level of irony, told third or fourth hand. Nothing to see here, move on.


  28. Giliell, professional cynic:

    For homophobia see comment #4

  29. dingojack:

    busterggi posted “She would never have been able to get it away from her husband“. Presumably talking about Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus.
    To which Giliell, professional cynic objected on the grounds that it was homophobic.

    So it’s homophobic to assume that men might use a vibrator? What no hetero men use them, or is it the assumption that all homosexual men use them? (there might be some dubious guesswork going on here, and I don’t think the original poster is the only one doing the guessing). Or is the whole ‘anal’ assumption? Because heterosexuals never indulge in that kind of behaviour, oh no never.
    And isn’t rather presumptuous to assume anything about Marcus Bachmann’s sexuality anyway (no matter if he uses a vibrator or not, and for whatever reason).*

    You know the old saying ‘when you assume….’ **
    * However having said that, there is something of a track record of virulent anti-gay campaigners (such as Mr Bachmann) being ‘hoisted by their own petard’ so to speak.
    ** (Apologies if the implied ass reminds you of something else, which leads you back to ‘homophobia.)

  30. andrewryan:

    “And isn’t rather presumptuous to assume anything about Marcus Bachmann’s sexuality anyway ”

    I think that was kind of Giliell’s point – that the husband reference was alluding to speculation about his sexuality, saying ‘because he’s gay, he’d want the vibrator’.

  31. Tyrant:

    Bleargh, yeah, let’s connect the fact that she is a horrible person with her alleged lack of or inability to experience orgasms. That’s never been used to degrade women before, also shes a total b****, so its ok.

  32. Tyrant:

    “So it’s homophobic to assume that men might use a vibrator? ”

    Not really, not only because as you correctly note it has in reality nothing to do with homosexuality. But why would anyone bring it up in this conversation??? It only has a point if there is supposed to be some kind of innuendo involved, be it true or not.

  33. left0ver1under:

    You have to wonder about the guy who bought or sent it – is he really that clueless about sex toys? Or was this an overreaction by rightwingnuts about something that could be used as a sex toy (e.g. a back massager), not something that actually is?

    Given how uptight and repressed most of them are, I doubt the item was a vibrator, more likely a “magic wand”, which would still be enough to freak them out..

  34. Tyrant:


    maybe clueless, maybe good old-fashioned sexual harrassment…

  35. democommie:

    Boy, am I glad I read ALL of this before commenting.

    Michele Bachmann like her husband and the majority of the RepubliKKKan movers and shakers is a manipulative, lying, piece-of-shit scold who doesn’t deserve the courtesy that I would afford a mad dog. The mad dog is not responsible for its situation, they are.

  36. sigurd jorsalfar:

    People who say ‘but Bachmann is a terrible person, she DESERVES to be criticized’ are completely missing the point.

    The point being, criticize her for the terrible things she says and does. Criticize conservative consultant groups who send her vibrators as clueless sexist shitheads. But that’s not what is going on in this thread, as Tyrant clearly observes in comment #31. It was all kicked off by Brayton’s utterly needless shot at Bachmann in his final sentence.

  37. sigurd jorsalfar:

    … it was meant to send her something «intended to give Bachmann a vibrating head massager to help alleviate her migraines», and instead they sent something to «vibrate», as a sex toy.

    And you believe this, drizzt?

    I don’t, but let’s suppose for a second that it was all just an unfortunate mistake. How does that justify the slam that Bachmann wouldn’t have given it back if she’d opened it? And all the comments that follow in that vein? It does not.

  38. dingojack:

    Demo – I’m confused. Who are ‘they’, and why are ‘they’ playing the Lyssavirus is this scenario?
    PS: While I agree that respect is something that, once lost due to despicable behaviour, needs to be painstakingly re-earned., we differ in that I can’t rise above icy disdain* toward the Bachmanns, mainly because of their ongoing behaviour. I think you’ll have to do the raw anger.

    * Occasionally rising, i admit, to contempt

  39. democommie:

    “we differ in that I can’t rise above icy disdain* toward the Bachmanns,”

    They’re not mucking up your country. It’s not that Bachmann’s a clueless piece-of-shit that will do/say anything that’s pleasing to the ear of her batshit constituency. It’s that her batshit constituency, pandered to by her and other RepuKKKlicans do enormous, unfunny things to those whom they perceive to be wrong–or just too weak to fight back. Fuck her and the rest of her party.

  40. sigurd jorsalfar:

    democommie’s point is clear – Bachmann is a political enemy, so it’s OK to use sexist and homophobic language against her and her husband. They are ‘fair game’. This is precisely how the slymepit operates.

  41. dingojack:

    andrewryan – Thank you for pointing out Giliell’s assumption.
    ‘Cause we all know that bona fide red-blooded hetereosexual men would never ever use a vibrator on themselves or their partners, hell they’re congenitally forbidden to be within 500′ of them. Only homosexual men and women are permitted to have anything at all to do with vibrators on pain of death!.

    Assumptions are being made all right, thick and fast.

  42. sigurd jorsalfar:

    dingojack, come on. Comment #4 was clearly an allusion to the rumors that Bachmann’s husband is gay. But nice try.

  43. dingojack:

    sigurd jorsalfar – Uh, I think you need to re-read this thread’s first comment.

  44. sigurd jorsalfar:

    At this point I’m not really sure what your position is, dingojack.

  45. dingojack:

    Nor I, yours.
    Perhaps you’re thinking that it’s the sexuality of one’s partner that can cause one to experience a loss of mental focus,(“She is now so mentally fogged up…”) and an inability to recognise objects and their function (“….she wouldn’t know what it is or how to use it.)?
    Just a wild guess.

  46. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :):

    Not that Bachmann probably believes in the concept of sexual harassment.

    To be fair, I’m sure she believes in it when it’s her being harassed.

  47. chilidog99:

    I find it hilarious that people here are getting their underwear all bunched up about this.

    The point is that the PR firm is so uptight and clueless not to realize that ALL”personal massagers” are vibrating dildos.

    The fact that they sent it to Michel Bachmann is just icing on the cake.

  48. andrewryan:

    Dingo : “andrewryan – Thank you for pointing out Giliell’s assumption.”

    As post 42 said, nice try.

  49. sigurd jorsalfar:

    The point is that the PR firm is so uptight and clueless not to realize that ALL”personal massagers” are vibrating dildos.

    That could have been the point. But re-read the very last sentence of Brayton’s post, and the comments that arise from it.

  50. andrewryan:

    Anyone who doesn’t know about dildos must be uptight and worthy of ridicule? I’m sure there are plenty of better things to criticise these people over.

  51. chilidog99:

    Oh, come on, people.

    What’s this world coming to if we can’t make a few crude and tasteless jokes at Michel Bachmann’s expense about someone acidentally mailing a dildo to her.

    Lighten up.

  52. Tyrant:

    In principle, dildoes being mailed to people accidentally can be comical. But only if its not a deliberate act of sexual harrassment, and certainly not the fallout in this thread be funny.

  53. andrewryan:

    I’ve seen posts on Ann Coulter on this blog before when Ed has cautioned everyone about posting mysogynisic jibes about Adam’s Apples and ‘Mann Coulter’. I don’t see how this is much better than doing that.

    As for ‘making assumptions’, people sometimes make ‘dog whistle’ references that rest on assumptions – such as Roger Kimball’s insistence on always saying Barrack HUSSEIN Obama, trying to make a connection between the President and, I don’t know, terrorism or something. To point out he’s doing that is not to make a connection between having an Islamic name and terrorism. Likewise to pick someone up for saying ‘I bet Bachmann’s husband would like the vibrator’ or whatever, is not to make an assumption about gays and vibrators yourself, it’s pointing out that the other person was doing that. Though I’ve seen people play innocent and say “What’s wrong with us saying ‘B Hussein Obama’? Sounds like YOU are saying there’s something wrong with being a Muslim or having a Muslim name!”.

    Yeah, very cute.

  54. chilidog99:

    Why is everyone assuming Marcus wouldn’t use it on Michel?

    I think that people are missing the point that they seem to be a totally uptight couple as far as sex is concerned and the idea of them getting jiggly with a vibratory is funny.

  55. democommie:

    “democommie’s point is clear – Bachmann is a political enemy, so it’s OK to use sexist and homophobic language against her and her husband.”

    Really, I said that? Go fuck yourself, moron.

    I actually wish that Bachmann and the rest of the idiots like her that vie for top marks in hurting others for political gain would just fucking die and make the world a better place.

    I don’t believe in GOD and I don’t believe in the inherent good that is in all men (or women, for that matter) . Michele Bachman has made a business of attempting to control the public and private lives of others. Fuck her, fuck her supporters and fuck the rest of the people who think and act like her.

    I don’t go to the slymepit so I am spared that nonsense. You, obviously, do–if that’s what helps you work up your self-righteousness, good for you.

    I disagree, frequently, with Ed Brayton’s views on a number of issues. The beauty of this blog is that, absent threats and completely specious, off-topic nonsense or spammenting, Ed pretty much lets the comments roll. There’s a simple remedy for what you see as a problem on this thread, don’t read it. Picking fights with people who are not misogynists, racists or haterz of the poor, downtrodden and variously disabled other persons is not going to change their minds.

  56. sigurd jorsalfar:

    Go fuck yourself, moron.

    Right back at you, dipshit.

  57. democommie:

    Aw, jeez, sigurd’s upset.

    Hey, sigurd, I got a idear. Lose your cool and drop down into the gutter with me, then, why, it could be like Slymepit, the franchise!

    Go down to the pharmacy and get someathem witch hazel pads that people use for hemorrhoids; that oughta soothe your butthurt.

  58. sigurd jorsalfar:

    For a sec there, democommie, I almost felt like maybe I’d been too hard on you. But your last post, #57, is so utterly childish that I’m laughing at the thought that I ever spared a second thought for your feelings. The guy who posts ‘go fuck yourself moron’ thinks he’s scored a point by accusing someone else of ‘butthurt’? That’s just too fucking funny.

  59. andrewryan:

    I’m surprised he didn’t use the phrase ‘panties in a twist’ or something.

  60. chilidog99:

    “nuts in a vice?”

    Tits in the wringer?”

    “stick up the butt?”

  61. chilidog99:

    Hey, did you hear about the blonde that brought a vibrator?

    She took it back to the store complaining that it chipped her teeth.

  62. chilidog99:

    Barbara Walters: “If you had to buy one thing now,” Barbara asked her co-hosts, “let’s say there’s one luxury thing now that you could buy…”

    Joy Behar: “You mean besides a vibrator?”

    Barbara Walters: “For her, that’s not a luxury, that’s a necessity!”

  63. chilidog99:

    Hawkeye: I’ve always said it. Behind every great man there’s a woman with a vibrator.

  64. democommie:


    You two obviously don’t spend a lot of time here. If you did you’d know that poseurs who come here to lecture others on their manners are pretty generally laughed at. Others choose to ignore you, I’ve just never gone that route.

    You really need to go back to whatever it is you do when you’re not being fuckwads–unless, of course, being fuckwads is what you do all of the time.

  65. chilidog99:


    Post number fail, or are you talking to yourself?

    —– —– —–

    Q: Why is O’Doul’s beer like a vibrator with dead batteries?

    A: they both fill you up without the buzz.

  66. andrewryan:

    “Post number fail, or are you talking to yourself?”

    I think he was talking to himself (judging by the ‘fuckwad’ comment). Giving that I wasn’t lecturing others on their manners (or what they should be doing with their time), it can’t have been me.

  67. andrewryan:

    @65 – a vibrator joke I made up myself followed the following format:
    Q: Why is X like a vibrator?
    A: They’re both stuck up c***s

  68. democommie:


    I plead TI (Temporary Innumeracy)!

    Aw, Andy. You seemed to be minimeeing for Jarfulla Sigurd there, so, yeah, you get to be a fuckwad, too.

    I appreciate that you two have a problem with me, it’s noted. You’re just the sort of purists that make joining any liberal/progressive/leftwingsorta org a non-starter for me.

    You don’t like the way I talk? I give a fuck. You can’t separate the way people talk in one narrow area from the rest of what they do? that’s YOUR fucking problem.

    Have a nice day, and finish it up with a big glass of whine.

  69. andrewryan:

    “You don’t like the way I talk? I give a fuck.”

    Cool, as long as you at least give a fuck then there’s hope for you. Lots of people nowadays DON’T even give a fuck, but good for you for not identifying as one of those people!

  70. Donnie:

    This is similar to the piece where PZ lambasted Bachman for eating a corn-dog at the State Fair and the Hoard gang-attacked bachman using similar puns. It was wrong then, it is wrong now. Because she is a conservative, and not in our Tribe, she is fair game? No, she is a human. Who gives a shit if he returned the vibrator, or kept the vibrator, or used the vibrator? We sound like Teabaggers attacking the President for any-and-all reasons, except for the rational reasons one could attack the President on (state secrets, 4th amendment).

    I assumed that FtB had gotten better with is misogynist rage? Thank you all for confirming that even within our social space, we need to remember Prof. Moody, “Ever vigilante”.

  71. andrewryan:

    Well Donnie, apparently any comments such as yours above are ‘tone trolling’. Being accused of that is the atheist/left wing equivalent of being told you’re ‘politically correct’. God forbid anyone actually defends an idea or explains why you’re wrong – no, it’s just “Shut the fuck up and piss off to another site”.

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