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.