But his successor—and future speakers from both parties—will, at least for some time, be forced by his example to run the House as the Founders intended: from the bottom up, with legislation emerging from the committees, rather than being written and handed down by the speaker’s staff.

No congressional Republican worked harder than John Boehner to create the GOP House majority in 2010 and to maintain it. An indefatigable fundraiser, he spent 220 nights last year on the road, raising money and helping his Republican colleagues win election.

Now that Mr. Boehner is departing, his critics—mostly in the House’s Freedom Caucus—will celebrate. But they cannot shirk, as many of them have in the past, their own responsibility for keeping the GOP in the majority.

Though the Freedom Caucus includes 15% of House Republicans, they represent 36% of the GOP congressmen who have contributed zero dollars to their party’s campaign committee. More than half of Mr. Boehner’s Freedom Caucus critics have fattened their own war chests while doing zip for the GOP’s common cause.