You can learn a lot about a man by his insults. And the essential elitism of Gov. Jerry Brown came through when he took a shot at U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican presidential candidate recently.

“I tell you – I have not given a lot of thought to Sen. Cruz, but I marvel at the fact that he got out of Harvard and had so many lame ideas,” Brown said on April 11.

It’s true that Cruz has some awful ideas (from unnecessary government shutdowns to surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods). But the governor gives Harvard too much credit. First off, the standards aren’t so high. I can personally assure you that even a wiseacre Southern California-based blogger at Fox & Hounds Daily can get through Harvard pretty easily in this era. (Grade inflation is a godsend, particularly if you’re spending all your time at the campus newspaper).

Second, what does elite academic credentialing have to do with ideas? You get into such institutions on grades and test scores and extracurriculars and diversity and luck—not some intellectual vision for the future.

Of course, when did Gov. Brown get so interested in ideas. He’s devoted his second tenure in the governorship to warning against big new ideas, in favor of expert, old-school, focused management and budget balancing. He’s suggested that the ideas of others are merely desires and wants that could have unintended consequences if they’re seen as needs. He hasn’t offered a single, big compelling new vision for the state’s future.

I marvel at the fact that he got through Berkeley, not to mention Yale and a long adult life in this state, without any big vision.