Ok, I'll reply to myself here because I think I found a solution.

Download python-2.7.13 source code and extract it. Run configure with all the options needed by the LEDE cross compile tools Run make and the compile ran to successful completion. make install failed miserably because of some pc host vs. omega stuff that was beyond me to figure out. manually copied the Include tree from python src to ...source/staging_dir/toolchain-mipsel_24kc_gcc-5.4.0_musl/include/python2.7/ and manually copied the pyconfig.h file as well. manually copied the libpython2.7.a file to ...source/staging_dir/toolchain-mipsel_24kc_gcc-5.4.0_musl/lib/ fiddled with the build system in my own software because autoconf couldn't run python-config and get the right answer. compiled my code successfully.

All that's left is it test run in on the actual omega2 which I will hopefully be able to do this weekend.